Syria + 8 more

Middle East Mixed Migration Monthly Summary, January 2018



While overall figures of apprehensions at Turkey’s land borders was at its lowest since July 2017 this month (30,666), the number of recorded entry attempts to Greece via Turkey remained constant at 772. Nearly 30,000 attempted to enter Turkey via the Syrian border. 57 people were returned from Greece to Turkey under the EU-Turkey Agreement, bringing the total to 1,531 since April 2016, the majority of whom have been from Pakistan (42%) and Syria (16%). In Syria, IDP returns to Raqqa city and the surrounding neighbourhood continued in January, with an estimated 25,000 households now residing in the urban centre. This is despite the 534 people (112 of whom died as a result) maimed by unexploded ordnance left by the so-called Islamic State since the area was cleared in October 2017. Internal displacement within Syria continues at a rate of almost a quarter of a million on average each month since the beginning of 2017. Syrians residing in the neighbouring region increased by 1.5% this month, as did the number of Syrians arriving to Europe by sea, which rose by 7.2% to 18,669. Smuggling routes from Syria into Lebanon remain active, with 15 Syrians freezing to death attempting to enter the country through the mountains in January. 690 Iraqi families returned from Syria in a convoy this month, however nine were killed and 24 more injured when one of the buses crashed. Overall Iraqi returns saw an increase of 3.9% (126,442) in January, yet the number of Iraqis hosted in neighbouring countries also rose by 6.4% to nearly 280,000. The Iraqi government plans to see all displaced people returned to their areas of origin by May, prior to parliamentary elections. Meanwhile, reports of forced returns remain ongoing, with at least 155 families sent from Ameriyat al Fallujah camp back to Al-Qaim district this month. In Jordan, the first humanitarian aid was delivered to the at least 50,000 residents of the berm’s informal Rukban settlement following a six-month hiatus, due to security-related border closures. Aid groups have been advocating for the expedited processing of 8,500 Syrians held in “Village 5”, a high security area of Jordan’s Azraq camp, isolated from the general camp population.

The following sections of this report describe monthly developments related to mixed migration by country, including reported arrivals, departures, internal displacement relevant to cross-border movement, and discussion of relevant policy changes.