by Max Abrahms, Denis Sullivan, Charles Simpson, Foreign Affairs
An estimated 11 million Syrians—about half the national population—have ﬂed their homes since the beginning of the conﬂict in March 2011. Yet a lack of direct evidence has led to speculation, misinformation, and poorly informed policymaking. In order to gather first-hand experiences, a seven-person team from Northeastern University was sent to the Western Balkan migration route into Europe to speak with Syrian migrants and learn how and why they left, and their impressions of their journey to Europe. These conversations helped to categorize five myths often perpetuated about refugees escaping Syria; that most Syrians are fleeing Assad, that it’s difficult for them to enter Europe, that they must be protected from smugglers, that cracking down on smugglers helps refugees, and that cultural differences prevent refugee integration into European society.