Denmark deems Syria province safe for returning refugees, worrying UNHCR – Middle East Monitor

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The Danish Refugee Appeals Board, on Friday, deemed it safe for Syrian refugees to return to the province of Latakia in the west of the country, expressing concern to the United Nations Refugee Agency, Reuters reports.

When the Danish Immigration Service decides to withdraw a refugee’s residence permit, the case automatically goes to the Board of Appeal, the highest authority in asylum cases in Denmark, for consideration.

Latakia Province, a stronghold of Bashar Al Assad’s government on the Mediterranean border, has not seen as much combat as the central and eastern provinces.

The Appeals Board said in a statement that security in the province had improved to make it safe for refugees to return.

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Since 2019, Denmark has revoked residence permits for 150 Syrian nationals from Damascus and the surrounding area out of more than 1,300 reviewed cases, according to the Immigration Service.

A spokesman for the United Nations Refugee Agency called the Danish decision “relevant” and said the Agency did not consider improvements in the security situation in Syria “enough to end international protection for any group of refugees”.

In 2021, European lawmakers criticized Denmark for trying to send refugees back to Damascus after Danish authorities claimed conditions in the capital had improved.

“We have made it clear to Syrian refugees that their residence permit is temporary and that the permit can be revoked if the need for protection ends,” said Immigration Minister Mattias Tesfaye. Reuters at the time.

Denmark and Hungary are the only two EU countries to revoke residence permits for Syrian refugees, according to Amnesty International.

Those refugees in Denmark were sent to return centers or left the country voluntarily.

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