Mapping the Syrian Diaspora: A Global Player in the Reconstruction of Syria

Bassma Kodmani, Hana Jaber
Content Type
Research Paper
Arab Reform Initiative (ARI)
Before 2011, the Syrian diaspora worldwide was estimated at 18 million people who migrated over more than a century and have mostly contributed actively to their host communities. This old diaspora has now increased with the wave of Syrian refugees who fled - and continue to flee - Syria because of the ongoing conflict. Over the past seven years, seven million Syrians - not all registered refugees – have fled the country out of a total population of 24 million before the conflict. The Arab Reform Initiative (ARI) conducted a research project between Spring 2017 and 2018 to study Syrian diaspora around the world after the 2011 uprising, map its features and explore the interactions of Syrian migrant communities with the conflict in Syria. To draw a map of these interactions, ARI commissioned a group of researchers to prepare studies on Syrian diaspora in North America, Latin America, and Europe. Regarding the Middle East, researchers conducted studies on the presence of Syrians in Jordan, Turkey, Lebanon, and Egypt as well as Gulf States, with Qatar and the UAE as case example. Furthermore, ARI prepared three papers on the experiences of other diaspora groups in the region, namely the Armenian, the Palestinian, and Lebanese, with a view to comparing them with the Syrian case and draw lessons from them. Finally, ARI shared a questionnaire with the researchers to use with Syrian personalities (academics, businesspeople, engineers, etc.) so as to explore the motives that could encourage or deter them from contributing to channel the potential of the Syrian diaspora to help in the recovery of the Syrian society in Syria and abroad. Researchers also focused on the living conditions of Syrian communities, new and old, in diaspora countries. The ensuing report draws a new globalized network of relationships characterized by the following:
Globalization, Diaspora, Refugees, Revolution
Political Geography
Europe, Middle East, Latin America, Syria, North America