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The New Arab

Denmark denies refugees asylum because it considers Syria safe

Does this look liveable? [Idlib, 2019 Getty]

Date of publication: 17 December, 2019

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Denmark has denied a Syrian asylum residency on the basis that the 'general conditions' in Damascus are livable, despite continued airstrikes on the country.
Denmark has become the first country to deny a Syrian asylum on the basis that the country is safe, despite continued killings of civilians due to airstrikes saying otherwise. 

According to the Refugee Board, a Danish independent group that deals with complaints about asylum-related decisions in the country, a number of asylum applications related to Syrians in Damascus have been denied residency as the area is now considered "safe" and so not applicable for residency.

An individual's appeal was denied on the basis that "general conditions" in the Damascus region were acceptable.

Emma Beals, an expert on Syria condemned the country, tweeting: "Denmark just became the first place to deny a Syrian asylum on the basis that Syria is safe now and no personal protection issues exist."

"This is not true. Nobody can be said to be 'safe' to return."

She went on to add: "Denmark decided in June that Damascus is safe and people from there needed personal reasons for protection, rather than blanket protections for all Syrians because *war*. It's impossible to say that Damascus or any particular individual is safe at the present time." 

This decision is in line with the country's growing frostiness towards refugees. Danish Prime Minister Lars Lokke Rasmussen is ready to change rules on family reunification, as we all on the return of asylum seekers granted temporary residence in the country.

Asylum is granted for a three-year period, after which point they must reapply to remain in the country.

These changes would detrimentally impact Syrian refugees who arrived in Denmark in 2015 - some 4,200 in number.

The demands came from the leader of the right-wing Danish People's Party, an ally of the ruling Social Democrats.

DF Leader Dahl said: "It is important for us to look at the right to family reunification that this group gets after three years."

"It is clear that if you are able to soon return to, for example, Aleppo in Syria, that's where family reunification should happen."

The situation in Syria is deteriorating

The United Nations has no choice other than to keep shipping humanitarian aid across Syria's borders and over frontlines in the country's civil war, according to a report submitted Monday by Secretary-General Antonio Guterres to the Security Council.

"It is in no one's interest to block this resolution," one diplomat told AFP, asking not to be named - with others noting that Russia - one of the main supporters of the Assad regime, tended to push for more control over the war-torn country.

Guterres' report confirmed the situation in Syria as of 2019 had deteriorated even further.

"Humanitarian assistance provided by United Nations agencies included food for an average of 4.3. million people in need each month and more than 1.3 million health and medical treatments to people throughout the country," he noted.

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