After deeming Damascus and Reef Dimashq safe for return in 2019, Denmark is now reassessing the right of Syrians from Latakia and Tartous to stay in Denmark on the grounds it is safe for them to go back to Syria.
In 2015, Haitham al-Kurdi made the dangerous journey from Syria to Denmark alone, planning to bring his wife and children later. Over the following eight years, his hopes were repeatedly dashed as Danish asylum policies tightened.
When Nisrine and her family made the decision to flee Lebanon for Denmark in 2015, there was a snag: Her 12-year-old daughter Nadine had to return to Syria to get a passport. The border closed, and Nisrine made the painful decision to leave her behind—temporarily, she thought. Seven years later, she is still fighting to reunite with her.
Dozens of Syrians who lost residency in Denmark have fled and applied for asylum in other EU countries. But under the Dublin Regulation, many are being sent back to Danish territory.
If Syrian refugees who lose residency do not leave Denmark, they are forced to live indefinitely in return centers. Most affected are those who are not at risk of conscription in Syria: women and older men.
Hundreds of Syrian refugees in Denmark have had their lives upended by the Danish policy of revoking their residency permits after deeming parts of Syria safe to return to.
Syrian refugees in Denmark live in fear of losing their residency. While such a decision does not force them to return to Syria, Denmark's policy to hold them in return centers pushes refugees to return voluntarily, despite the high risks they face.
Despite the security risks that Syrian refugees may face upon return to their country, the push in this direction is reaching a crescendo.