Syria + 6 more

Middle East EU migration: Scenarios | Possible developments in migration via Turkey and Greece over the next 6 months

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Scenario 1: Continued restricted migration

Internal displacement in Syria continues while border restrictions severely limit the number of people able to reach neighbouring countries. The number of refugees and other migrants entering Turkey from Afghanistan, Iraq, and elsewhere remains steady. Relatively low numbers of asylum-seekers continue to enter Greece by land or sea while fewer leave Greece due to the slow processing of asylum applications. The overall asylum-seeker population in Greece slowly rises, despite the irregular onward movement of people assisted by smugglers continuing, primarily via the western Balkan route.

Conditions on the islands deteriorate and conflict with the host community increases.
Increasing numbers of people attempt to leave by irregular means, which become progressively more dangerous. Protection needs grow.

Scenario 2: Number of asylum-seekers in Greece falls

The overall number of asylum-seekers in Greece reduces significantly due to a combination of three main factors: 1) EU member states honour their commitment to relocate the 66,400 asylum-seekers from Greece who arrived before March 2016; 2) Greece grants asylum to, and integrates, many others; and 3) the EU increases the speed of resettlement from Turkey, which results in fewer people resorting to irregular methods of travel to Europe, reducing the rate of new arrivals to Greece.

The scale of need in Greece falls substantially although those not relocated or resettled, primarily non-Syrians, become more vulnerable as support decreases. People relocated to countries with inadequate support services struggle to integrate and have physical and psychological support needs.

Scenario 3: Number of asylum-seekers in Greece increases

Up to 150,000 migrants and asylum-seekers transit to Greece by both land and sea as Turkey relaxes movement controls to either force movement on elements of the EU-Turley deal or to gain domestic political support. Greece’s northern neighbours increase border security. State authorities and NGOs are overwhelmed and asylum seekers face serious health and security risks, especially on overcrowded islands.

Scenario 4: Increased returns to Syria

Increasing areas of Syria experience relative peace and stability and the expansion of reconstruction activities in areas of relative stability feed a growing hope that the end to the Syrian conflict is in sight. Large-scale voluntary, incentivised, and forced returns see more than 100,000 people move to areas perceived as relatively safe, although largely destroyed, where public services are absent or minimal. The additional health and protection risks significantly increases the vulnerability of returnees.

Scenario 5: Increased movement into Turkey

Turkey opens its borders to receive a sudden arrival of 50,000–150,000 people displaced by a major conflict event in the region. After initial reception and screening in temporary facilities at the border, the majority of arrivals are relocated to existing camps throughout Turkey, increasing pressure on some services. Those remaining in the host community lack access to basic services, especially schooling and healthcare.