The wave of Arab Spring uprisings, and the regime violence that followed in countries such as Libya and Syria, has led to new flows of internally displaced people (IDPs) and refugees, with those numbers increasing as the violence in Syria escalates.
“The Arab Spring has affected a whole range of countries in North Africa and the Middle East, but the effect on refugees and IDPs is limited to a smaller number of countries,” said Khalid Koser, who heads the New Issues in Security Program at the Geneva Center for Security Policy. “The first reason for this has to do with the [respective] lengths of the conflicts. In Egypt, the conflict was over quickly. But in Libya, and now in Syria, the conflict is protracted.”
Another factor has to do with the institutions and facilities already in place, Koser said. Some countries, such as Egypt, were better equipped to respond to these populations, whereas Libya and Syria do not have the same capacity to handle displaced people.