Honors Theses

Date of Award


Document Type

Undergraduate Thesis


Political Science

First Advisor

Benjamin T. Jones

Relational Format



The refugee crisis in Syria that began in 2011 raised several questions in terms of civil war interventions and their effects on refugee flow. Did a third party’s decision to intervene in the Syrian Civil War have any impact on the flow of refugees from the region? This thesis attempts to answer this question. There are multiple forms that external support by a third party can assume: direct military support, indirect military support, and humanitarian aid. This thesis hypothesized that direct and indirect military support would correlate with an increased number of refugees, and that humanitarian aid would have little to no correlation. This thesis used data from Patrick M. Regan’s article “Third-Party Interventions and the Duration of Intrastate Conflicts” (2002) to construct each of those broad categories of external support by combining relevant variables into a single measure. These categories were then tested using R against refugee data pulled from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. While regression tests supported the second hypothesis by showing little to no correlation between humanitarian aid and refugee flow, direct and indirect military support also exhibited little to no relationship with refugee flow. Tests at the constituent variable-level, however, did reveal that external support in the form of troops or military equipment were correlated with increased numbers of refugees, opening the door for further research with respect to these types of interventions.



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