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Transnational Issues

Disputes - International

Golan Heights is Israeli-occupied with the almost 1,000-strong UN Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF) patrolling a buffer zone since 1964. Lacking a treaty or other documentation describing the boundary, portions of the Lebanon-Syria boundary are unclear with several sections in dispute. Since 2000, Lebanon has claimed Shaba'a farms in the Golan Heights. The 2004 Agreement and pending demarcation settles border dispute with Jordan. Approximately two million Iraqis have fled the conflict in Iraq with the majority taking refuge in Syria and Jordan.

Refugees and Internally Displaced People

Refugees (country of origin): 1-1.4 million (Iraq); 522,100 (Palestinian refugees)

IDPs: 305,000 (most displaced from Golan Heights during 1967 Arab-Israeli War) (2007)

Trafficking in Persons

Syria is a destination and transit country for women and children trafficked for commercial sexual exploitation and forced labour. A significant number of women and children in the large and expanding Iraqi refugee community in Syria are reportedly forced into commercial sexual exploitation by Iraqi gangs or, in some cases, their families. Women from Indonesia, Sri Lanka, the Philippines, Ethiopia and Sierra Leone are recruited for work in Syria as domestic servants, but some face conditions of involuntary servitude, including long hours, non-payment of wages, withholding of passports, restrictions on movement, threats, and physical or sexual abuse.

Illicit Drugs

Syria is a transit point for opiates, hashish and cocaine bound for regional and Western markets. Weak anti-money-laundering controls and bank privatisation may leave Syria vulnerable to money laundering.




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