Abstract for: Using System Dynamics to Examine Alternative Futures for the Syrian Refugee Crisis

The refugee migration from Syria has been called the humanitarian crisis of our time. We built a model to incorporate a sub-model of the Syrian civil war along with a sub-model of the movement of refugees and their eventual immigration. We found parameters of the model that provided a good fit to the time-series available for the period 2010 to 2018. Then we used this model with these parameters to project the crisis into the future. We found that if nothing is done, the countries accepting immigrants will be overwhelmed. Then we considered two alternative futures by modifying the structure of our model. First, we examined the impact of compassion fatigue in which immigration is limited after a certain number of refugees have been accommodated. The results from this modification demonstrate that immigration cannot be controlled without creating unsustainable growth in the refugee camps. So, as a final modification, we considered repatriation of the refugees which might be possible if the violence in Syria can be resolved (i.e., ceasefires established and peacekeepers deployed).