(Brussels 04 September) As the number of Syrian refugees now has surpassed two million people, with today’s figures at 2,001,599 people of concern, the Swedish government have changed their asylum and refugee policy to allow “all Syrian asylum seekers who apply for asylum in Sweden [will] to get it,” stated Annie Hoernblad, the spokesperson for Sweden’s migration agency, in a conversation with AFP. “The agency made this decision now because it believes the violence in Syria will not end in the near future.” The decision, which will give refugees permanent resident status, is valid until further notice, added Hoernblad. Until now, Sweden could only house refugees temporarily for three years, after each individual case was evaluated by the state.
The agency expects that the “vast majority of Syrian nationals who today have provisional status will apply for permanent status,” said Hoernblad. Those granted permanent status will also be allowed to bring their families to Sweden.
This image, taken from the UNHCR website, shows the current state of refugee flows from Syria. The conflict, which is now in its third year, has pitted forces loyal to President Bashar al-Assad and his Ba’athist regime against a motley assembled opposition force. Regional instability and fears for the balance of power in the region, and the recent suspected use of poison gas, a war crime, have prompted foreign governments, notably the US and the United Kingdom to debate military intervention in the Syrian conflict.
"Syria has become the great tragedy of this century," Antonio Guterres, the UN high commissioner for refugees, said in a statement, describing the situation in the country as "a disgraceful humanitarian calamity with suffering and displacement unparalleled in recent history".
In Jordan, the Zaatari refugee camp, housed in the desert, once deserted, is now the countries fourth largest city. 5,000 Syrians are fleeing into neighbouring countries every day and inside Syria a further 4,25 million people are displaced, away from their homes, jobs and lives.
UNHCR is pleading for donations to help these refugees. Should you wish to donate, you can do so here.