Source: Middle East Monitor
By Motasem A Dalloul
Since the beginning of the Syrian crisis in 2011, around 5.6 million Syrians have been forced to leave the country. A further 6.2 million have been displaced internally due to the war conditions and systematic ethnic cleansing by the regime as well as regionally and internationally-backed militias which targeted certain groups.
The refugees have settled mainly in regional countries, including Turkey, Jordan, Egypt, Sudan and even the Gaza Strip. According to the UN Refugee Agency, Turkey hosts around 4 million refugees, including 3.6 million Syrians, while estimates suggest that Sudan is hosting between 250,000 and 300,000 of them. The actual figure is unknown, because the regime of ousted President Omar Al-Bashir did not grant them refugee status so they did not need to register with refugee agencies.
By 2015, Sudan was the only country in the world which did not require Syrians to have an entry visa. Restrictions had been imposed by other countries, including Turkey, due to « fake passports » being used by people from third countries. This month, however, Sudan has introduced visas for Syrians after a year in which they have been almost routinely harassed by the authorities. Sudan is no longer a safe haven for Syrian refugees.
According to the UN Refugee Agency, the regime of Al-Bashir had « accepted the Syrians and Yemenis into [Sudan] based on the concept of Muslim solidarity to ‘brothers and sisters’. » Moreover, Syrians could apply for Sudanese nationality during Bashir’s time in office. Although the Sudanese Constitution says that a foreigner can obtain a passport after living in Sudan for 10 years or getting married to a Sudanese lady, Al-Bashir made an exception for the Syrians who could get Sudanese passports after six months.
Now, though, Syria News has reported that the current Sudanese authorities have since 2016 revoked the citizenship of 13,000 out of 18,000 foreign-born citizens. The website suggested strongly that Syrian refugees were the main target of this move.