Middle East Mixed Migration Monthly Summary, March 2017
March 2017 marked six years since the beginning of the war in Syria as well as the frst time that the number of Syrian refugees in neighbouring countries has surpassed 5 million. In addition to those who have ﬂed the country, conﬂict in March saw some 75,000 people newly internally displaced in Aleppo governorate, with thousands more displaced by fghting in Hama governorate and Dar’a al Balad. Some Syrians ﬂed towards the Turkish border in March, where authorities reported the apprehension of more than 18,000 people. One year has passed since the implementation of the EU-Turkey Agreement, a policy that together with the closure of the Western Balkans route has signifcantly decreased the volume of sea arrivals in Greece, while resulting in fewer returns to Turkey than expected. Improving weather conditions throughout March were marked by more than 1,500 arrivals in Greece, a 40% increase from the previous month. Increasing numbers of Turkish citizens claiming asylum in EU countries, and departures of boats from Turkey headed to Italy, were also reported in March. Ongoing fghting in Iraq, particularly around Mosul, continued to displace thousands of people within the country and internationally throughout March. In the deadliest month for Iraqi civilians since November 2016, the number of people displaced by the Mosul oﬀensive increased by more than 125,000. More than 14,000 Iraqis have been received in Syria’s Al-Hol camp since October 2016, though recent reports indicate that some camp residents are returning to Iraq. The number of Yemenis registered with UNHCR in Jordan increased by more than 1,000 in March, to a total of 7,441 by the end of the month.
Additionally, some 85,000 Syrians remain stranded at the Jordanian border in an area known as ‘the berm’, though aid deliveries to the area resumed in March following a prolonged closure. 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