More than 250,000 people have died since 2011 when violence broke out in Syria, and at least 11 million people in the country of 22 million have fled their homes. Syrians are now the world’s largest refugee population, according to the United Nations.
Most are struggling to find safe haven in Europe. The mood was already turning against the millions of Syrian men, women and children driven into destitution by a war that has gone on for four and a half years.
Some countries have told them to stay out. Hungary even built a razor-wire fence along its border, and neighboring countries have been following suit. And previously generous countries like Sweden and Germany that welcomed thousands were already pulling back.
In the United States, where candidates running in upcoming presidential elections comment on most major issues, the Paris attacks had already triggered caustic opposition to Obama’s plans to scale up the number of Syrian refugees.
Then on Sunday, came news that one of the Paris bombers carried Syrian identification papers — possibly forged — and the fear of Syrian refugees grew worse.