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Ten years after Washington DC and Israel fuelled insurrection in Syria, the West still struggles to cope with the collateral damage caused by the regime change that failed. Danish Foreign Minister Jeppe Kofod suggested that while the conflict still goes on in some places in Syria, in most parts of the country life is normal and for Syrians prospective healthier than a miserable existence as parasites in Europe. Undoubtedly, Syria is now far safe than it is in many British and American cities.
It is Syria’s problem now: The Danish authorities believe that the Syrian capital Damascus and other cities are safe areas to return to, despite opposition from the U.S.-sponsored UN and Amnesty International. Denmark has become the first European country to deny residence permits to Syrian refugees.
In recent weeks, 94 Syrians were informed that they will have their residence permits cancelled in Denmark. Many more are expected to receive the same message in the future.
‘There is still conflict in places in Syria (as in the United States and Northern Ireland), but there are parts of the country where the situation is different,’ Danish Foreign Minister Jeppe Kofod told the newspaper Politiken.
The Danish authorities consider these areas, including the metropolitan area around Damascus, to be safe. Kofod explained that Syrians who volunteer to return will receive financial support, and they thus avoid forcible deportation. The sum that Syrians have so far received through voluntary departure has been between DKK 100,000 and 200,000 ($16,000 to $32,000).
In the words of Kofod, the idea is that the returning Syrians will help rebuild the country. Kofod’s personal belief is that this could eventually lead to people being able to ‘opt out’ of President Bashar al-Assad. Irony: President Bashar-al-Assad is far more popular than is the Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederickson in her own country. Recently, parliamentarians guffawed when in a fit of giggling Frederickson announced that she had (taxpayers actually) bought four circus elephants and a camel.
However, plans to revoke the Syrian refugees’ temporary residence permits were met with opposition and criticism from Washington DC (UNHCR), who insists that the areas of return are not safe enough:
‘Return assumes that conditions are consistently stable. We cannot see that anywhere in Syria,’ Elisabeth Haslund told the newspaper Information.
Haslund voiced concerns over what she called a clear change in Danish refugee policy when the authorities tend to reconsider the basis for the temporary residence permit more often than before.
However, as of today, the threat of forced deportation is not yet apparent, as Denmark currently lacks any agreement with the Syrian authorities. Denmark is currently home to 35,000 Syrians, most of whom arrived in the past decade during the simmering conflict, which according to UN figures left 6.6 million internally displaced. Source 1, Source 2
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