Denmark’s decision to deport Syrian refugees back home sparked a state of fear among the Syrian refugees as they are at risk of arrest, torture, and murder by Syrian regime forces.
Denmark is putting hundreds of people at risk of return to Syria, claiming that Damascus and the surrounding region is now safe.
The Syrian refugee, Samar al-Farra, fled home in 2015 along with her four children to join her husband via Denmark’s “family reunion” long-stay visa.
In 2020, Samar applied for asylum in Denmark. However, she received a notice from immigration services that she was no longer eligible for asylum. She was only given 15 days to leave the country.
Samar was ordered to leave alone as her children are eligible to remain in Denmark.
If deported, Samar will face an unknown fate at risk of arbitrary arrest and torture as all her family members reside in different European countries.
Samar expressed her fear of being forcibly deported against her will.
The refugee Nadia Ahmed Al-Masry, 43, reached Denmark in 2015 along with her sister, Muna, and her three children to join Muna’s husband.
In 2021, Muna received a notice from immigration services that she was no longer eligible for asylum along with her husband and her 19-year-old daughter. She was later moved to Germany, where she was sent back to Denmark based on the Dublin Regulation.
In 2016, Nadia was granted subsidiary protection status that should be renewed every year. However, her short-term residence permit was withdrawn in 2020.
Meanwhile, Nadia has been working and paying taxes to the Danish authorities, and learning the Danish language. However, Danish court ruled that Damascus is a safe place for living and ordered her return to Syria.
In 2021, Nadia moved to the Netherlands, where she sent back to Denmark based on the Dublin Regulation.
Speaking from the detention centre, Nadia told us that she was “distraught” and “utterly heartbroken” by the prospect of deportation.
Earlier this month, Amnesty International released a report detailing abuses faced by Syrians returning to Syria.
The US-based rights group documented 24 cases of arrest and arbitrary detention, torture, enforced disappearances, rape and sexual violence.
Under the title “You’re going to your death”, the report pointed out that these violations have been a direct consequence of perceived affiliation with the opposition simply deriving from refugees’ displacement.
Based on these findings, Amnesty International concludes that no part of Syria is safe for returnees to go back to, including Damascus or the Damascus area, and people who have left Syria since the beginning of the conflict are at real risk of suffering persecution upon return.