Earlier years since the Syrian civil war began saw much smaller numbers arriving – 20 in 2011 (dated from mid-March); 41 in 2012; 45 in 2013; and 249 in 2014.
Of the 2,099 Syrian refugees admitted so far this year, six (0.28 percent) are Christians, 2,043 (97.3 percent) are Sunni Muslims. The remaining 50 are 17 (0.8 percent) Shi’a, 30 (1.4 percent) other Muslims and 10 (0.47 percent) Yazidis.
Similar proportions are seen in the number of Syrian refugees having arrived in the U.S. since the start of fiscal year 2016: 2,773 in total, comprising 12 (0.4 percent) Christians, 2,703 (97.4 percent) Sunnis, 17 (0.6 percent) Shi’a, 30 (1.1 percent) other Muslims and 10 (0.3 percent) Yazidis.
And since the conflict erupted, of a total of 4,646 Syrian refugees admitted, 60 (1.3 percent) are Christians; 4,422 (95.1 percent) are Sunni Muslims. The remaining 163 include Shi’a, other Muslims, Zoroastrians, Baha’i, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Yazidi, and refugees identified as “other religion” or as having “no religion.”
Syrians of all faith and ethnic backgrounds have been fleeing their homeland, with almost five million now registered by the U.N. refugee agency UNHCR as “persons of concern.”
They have done so to escape the violence and deprivation generally, or to get away specifically from ISIS, other jihadists rebel groups, or the Assad regime – which is itself a minority regime that has committed atrocities, including alleged war crimes, against majority Sunnis and others.
Although Syrians of all stripes have been affected, the number of Christians among those admitted into the U.S. – 1.3 percent – remains significantly smaller than the proportion of Christians in the total population when the war began – an estimated 10 percent, according to the CIA World Factbook.
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