Sweden stops deportations to Syria

Sweden stops deportations to Syria
Syrian army defectors join anti-regime protesters on Jan. 26, 2012
Swedish immigration authorities said Monday they were temporarily halting all deportations to Syria due to growing violence as President Bashar al-Assad's regime continues its deadly crackdown.

“The Swedish Migration Board (Migrationsverket) has now temporarily stopped all deportations … to Syria. The reason is the dramatically worsened security situation in the country,” the agency said in a statement.

The Migration Board had decided on December 16th last year the situation in Syria was so dire Sweden could hike the number of Syrians granted asylum.

“Now, the violence has worsened further, meaning no deportation rulings (to Syria) can be carried out,” the agency said.

According to Migration Board general counsel Mikael Ribbenvik, the increasing violence is claiming more civilian lives.

“There’s increased militarization, the opposition is increasingly organized and among those killed we’re seeing more civilians not involved in the demonstrations who are getting caught in the crossfire,” he told the TT news agency.

In 2011, 640 Syrian nationals sought asylum in the Scandinavian country – a 52-percent increase over the previous year, according to Migration Board statistics.

In the first few months of last year, 7 percent of Syrians who sought asylum in Sweden had their applications accepted, but since December, when the conflict became more intense, 66 percent of Syrian refugees have been granted asylum in Sweden.

More than 5,400 people have died in Syria in 10 months, including 80 on Sunday alone, as Assad continues to crack down on protests inspired by uprisings that have ousted authoritarian leaders in Egypt, Libya and Tunisia.

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