Commentary

The Selective Return of Syrian Refugees

The return policy implemented by the Assad regime suggests that there are certain groups that are welcome, while others are not. In fact, it seems as though Assad prefers the return of populations going back to rural areas more than those returning to cities, as available data on returning refugees confirm that the majority have returned to rural areas, especially to the countryside of Homs and Damascus.

Syrian Refugees in Turkey: Legal Frameworks and Recent Developments

Syrians in Turkey are currently coping with a broad set of challenges that human rights defenders are tackling with their limited means, from administrative complexities, restriction of movement, precarity and lack of integration, policy changes, securitization, to exposure to xenophobic rhetoric, racist crimes, arbitrary arrests, forced displacement to Northern Syria, and fears of reconciliation as Turkey is laying the ground for closer political relations with the Syrian regime. Yet, at the same time, they try to be integrated, support their families, send their children to school, and have access to healthcare structures. Integration success varies significantly according to age, gender, social class, marital status, and regions, among other factors.

The Walls Close in on Syrian Refugees in Lebanon...

The official repatriation of Syrian refugees from Lebanon started on October 26, with the Lebanese General Security announcing that 750 refugees were expected to return to Syria on that day. This operation took place two weeks after Lebanese President Michel Aoun announced that the country would soon start sending Syrian refugees back home, after months of various plans put forward by several members of the Lebanese authorities. However, the details of how “voluntary” those repatriations will be are still not clear.

Explainers

Lebanon’s Refugee and Asylum Legal Framework

In the summer of 2022, the Lebanese government initiated a policy for mass returns of Syrian refugees to Syria, modeled after its policy implemented in 2019 which resulted in the return of thousands of displaced Syrians. Government officials promised this time that returns would be voluntary, and that anyone with a security concern would be able to appeal to remain in Lebanon. However, given the complex and opaque legal framework for refugees and asylum seekers in the country, and the fact that Syria is still considered unsafe by human rights organizations, the situation of returnees must be closely monitored to protect them against forced or coerced returns.

How Russia’s War in Ukraine is Impacting the MENA...

As the war in Ukraine has been raging for over four months, there are growing concerns on its long-term effects on the countries from the MENA region that are particularly vulnerable due to crises that predate the Russian invasion. This article offers an overview of the impact the war has had on the region in terms of food security, fuel prices, and vulnerability.

Egypt’s Religious Minorities: The Legal Framework

This brief delves into some of the primary issues affecting and implicating the country’s religious minorities, who are primarily Coptic Christian, but also include members of other Christian denominations, Jews, Shi‘a Muslims, Ahmadis, Quranists, Baha’is, and atheists. 

Projects

TIMEP’s new Syria Unpacked project highlights and explores the significance of these concerns for the country’s future trajectory. The project is premised on the belief that understanding the impact of ongoing dynamics in Syria requires a comprehensive perspective on the interplay between political, human rights, security, economic, and legal challenges.