Sweden halts asylum decisions for applicants from northeastern Syria

Sweden's Migration Agency has decided to stop all decisions on asylum cases relating to people from northeastern Syria, it said in a statement this morning.

Sweden halts asylum decisions for applicants from northeastern Syria
A demonstration organized by Kurdish groups in Stockholm to protest against the Turkish offensive. Photo: Fredrik Sandberg/TT

The agency has taken a new “situational analysis” due to Turkey's offensive in the area, which began last week and also prompted Sweden's Foreign Minister to propose a weapons embargo against Turkey.

“At this stage, it is not possible to assess how the conflict will develop,” the Migration Agency's legal director Fredrik Beijer said in a statement on Thursday morning.

“It is still too early to draw any conclusions about the risks that will persist over time. The Migration Agency will not make decisions to either approve or reject asylum applicants from Hassakah at this time,” Beijer said, adding that the agency would continue to monitor the situation there.

Back in August, the agency chose to stop automatically issuing residence permits to all refugees coming from Syria.

This ended a generous policy which lasted for six years and the new legal assessment meant that people living in the Hassakah region as well as those in Damascus and the southern provinces of Rif Dimashq, Dara'a, Suwayda, Quneitra, and port city Latakia could no longer be considered at risk simply because of where they lived. 

The legal position remains in place for all the other regions apart from Hassakah.

“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,” the agency's legal director Fredrik Beijer said at the time. 

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