Protecting Syrian children en route to Europe: A study conducted in Syria, along transit routes & in hosting countries

Arezo Malakooti & Sebastien Duhaut - Altai Consulting, Save the Children

Executive Summary

In December 2015, Altai Consulting was commissioned by Save the Children’s Middle East and Eurasia Regional Office to conduct a research study on the protection of children fleeing from the Syria conflict and traveling to Europe. The specific objectives of the study are:

1. To identify the drivers compelling Syrians to undertake secondary movements from neighbouring countries to Europe;

2. To trace the routes of travel that they follow on their journeys;

3. To identify the key protection issues that children face along the way;

4. To map the immediate interventions and measures being put in place to mitigate risks for children.

Fieldwork was conducted over January and February 2016 and culminated in a total of 198 interviews across 19 locations in eight countries: Lebanon, Jordan, Syria, Turkey, Greece, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM), Serbia, and Croatia. This included 82 interviews with key informants and 116 in-depth interviews (IDI) or focus group discussions (FGDs) with Syrian refugees. This report presents the findings concerning the first three objectives.

Although the migratory route through Turkey to the Balkans was officially closed by the time the report came to be published, its findings address a range of issues that remain relevant across routes and for Syrian families still attempting to leave their home country in search of safe haven. Moreover, irregular movements through this route are still attempted, and the routes into Turkey discussed here remain as active as they were when the fieldwork was conducted.