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Abstract

After 2011 the Syrian conflict caused growing numbers of residents to flee to escape escalating regime brutality and deteriorating economic conditions. In addition to a population of up to eight million internally displaced residents, at least four million Syrians fled to neighboring Arab states and Turkey. Conditions in those countries ranged from desperate to uncomfortable, and between 2014 and 2016 up to a million refugees continued on to seek asylum in Europe. In addition to the trauma of displacement the refugees experienced, the migration left traces on the host and transit countries in the form of economic and infrastructural challenges, xenophobia, and changing regulation of borders, asylum, and citizenship parameters. The dynamics of unsustainable precarity, closing borders, and increasingly hostile receptions in a range of countries encouraged Syrians to keep moving west. This movement put pressure on the asylum regime of the European Union as well as Balkan states and allowed the government of Turkey to use the refugees for political purposes.

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