Danish MP suggests cooperation with Assad to return refugees
The suggestion comes in conjunction with efforts by the ruling centre-left government, headed by Mette Fredricksen, to provide "temporary residence" for refugees that have been chosen for deportation.
According to Mads Fuglede, Foreigners and Integration Rapporteur for Venstre, Denmark should seek to enter into an agreement with Syria, to receive refugees.
"I imagine an agreement that would only include a framework for the return of people (refugees), with some guarantees that the returnee would not be persecuted," Danish daily Jyllands-Posten quoted Fuglede as saying.
"If Denmark is unable to do so, then we must press for dialogue with the Assad regime at the European Union level," he added.
Denmark, and most other European countries, cut ties with Bashar al-Assad's regime following Syria's brutal crackdown on protesters in 2011.
The ruling Social Democratic Party rejected Fuglede’s suggestion of opening lines of communication with Assad, and Rasmus Stoklund, Foreigners and Integration Rapporteur for the Social Democrates, described the idea as, "surprising, as it sends the wrong message completely that we see Assad as the victor in Syria".
Since the war in Syria started in 2011, Denmark has taken in 43,942 refugees, but in recent years, public opinion has turned, led in part by far-right rhetoric.
In 2019, Denmark became the first European country to declare that the security situation in Damascus province had "improved significantly", an opinion that was contrary to the that of experts and people living in the province.
A year later Danish Immigrations Services started to reassess the cases of Syrians from Damascus who have obtained protection "exclusively" on the basis of the general conditions in the capital region.
So far, 94 Syrians have lost their right to stay in Denmark and the Danish authorities are expected to decide on a further 300 cases this year, all of whom are from Damascus province.
Currently, Denmark is unable to forcibly return Syrian refugees who do not wish to return, and so has opted to house them in return centres, where movement is restricted and financial support is withdrawn.
Syria continues to be an incredibly dangerous country for civilians.
As the country approaches the tenth anniversary of the popular uprisings, the Syrian Network for Human Rights reported that 138 civilians were killed in February alone, including 23 children.