On Tuesday, Congressman Stephen F. Lynch (D-MA) visited a Syrian refugee camp near the Turkish/Syrian border. Congressman Lynch was joined by Congressman Keith Ellison (D-MN). They reviewed conditions at the Adana refugee camp which is operated by the Turkish government with the assistance of the Red Crescent. The Adana camp is a tent-city which houses 12,000 refugees, mostly children, and receives 60% of its food assistance from the United States. The visit was prompted by the urgent crisis of dealing with the flood of civilians fleeing the civil war raging in Syria.

The ongoing conflict in Syria has now displaced almost 3 million Syrians. The vast majority of refugees have fled to neighboring countries, including Turkey, Lebanon, Iraq and Jordan. The threat of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) has also created a humanitarian crisis in the area with Iraqis and Syrians fleeing to Turkey. Turkey has kept its borders open for those escaping these conflicts. The number of refugees in Turkey is increasing daily and placing a strain on the country’s resources, as well as its security and political environment. Roughly 20% of the refugees in Turkey are housed in camps, while the remainder are scattered in cities and towns throughout the country. The international community, including the United States, is providing humanitarian assistance to support the efforts of Turkey and other countries who are hosting Syrian refugees. Turkey, Jordan and other host countries face the dilemma of determining a long term plan for the refugees.

"The crisis in Syria and northern Iraq present long-term challenges for the international community. We must encourage all our international neighbors to do their part to ease the suffering of these children and do what we can to restore stability to this region," Congressman Lynch said.