Why refugees fled Syria for a new life in the UK

Since the civil war in Syria started eight years ago, an estimated 5.7 million people have fled the country, according to the United Nations.

But why did they flee?

  • 2011

In March, pro-democracy protests begin in the southern Syrian city of Daraa inspired by the Arab Spring in other countries.

The Government uses force to crush the activists and it triggers violent unrest that spreads across Syria and becomes a full-scale civil war.

ISIS, the jihadi militant group, establish a stronghold in parts of the country, brutally ruling the areas they have taken over. They regularly carry out public executions.

By May 2011, thousands of Syrians began taking dangerous journeys to get away from the conflict and reach Europe.

Credit: PA
  • 2015

A three-year-old boy - Alan Kurdi - drowns in the Mediterranean after his family attempt to cross the waters.

The story sparks a public outcry and within days, the Prime Minister at the time David Cameron announces that up to 20,000 Syrian refugees will be allowed to resettle in the United Kingdom.

Although councils can refuse to take in any, the south of Scotland and Cumbria councils all have.

They are not UK citizens but can apply for settlement after 5 years and are entitled to benefits while they search for work.

Credit: PA
  • 2018

The UK, US and France launched air strikes against Syrian targets after an alleged chemical weapons attack in Douma.

Royal Air Force Tornados hit a former missile site outside of Homs, while several sites around Damascus were also targeted.