In a new legal assessment the Swedish Migration Agency (Migrationsverket) states that the security situation in parts of Syria has improved. On those grounds the agency announces the end of automatic residency to all Syrian asylum seekers, which was introduced in 2013 based on the general risk in the country.

Syrian asylum seekers arriving in Sweden will no longer be granted asylum based on the general risk in the country but will have to be granted asylum based on their individual circumstances. The changes will not affect groups awaiting or already granted asylum.

Legal Director of Migrationsverket Fredrik Beijer stated: “We now assess that the situation in Syria has become slightly better – in any case we see that the number of deaths has decreased so much in Syria that the general risk of coming to harm has decreased. We must therefore return to the standard practice…”

The areas considered safer by Migrationsverket include Damascus and the southern provinces of Rif Dimashq, Dara’a, Suwayda, and Quneitra as well as Hassakah in the northeast and Latakia in the west of the country.

In its comments ECRE member Swedish Refugee Law Center states that Migrationsverket further opens up the use of the internal flight alternative to Damascus in cases where the applicant has the needed social and financial resources to stay in the Syrian capital. While children without guardians, disabled or with serious illness are exempted from the use of the internal flight alternative the Law Center argues that the exemption should be broadened to include also families with children and single women.

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Photo:(CC) Tales of a Wanderer, November 2011