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Report on the situation in Syria published

17.6.2019 13.56
Press release

The Finnish Immigration Service has updated its country information report on Syria. The situation report focuses especially on changes to the security situation and humanitarian circumstances in Syria that have taken place during the latter half of 2018.

The war in Syria has lasted already for eight years, and 400,000–500,000 people are estimated to have died in violence related to the war. The situation report discusses the security situation in Syria province by province. During the latter half of 2018, bombings and fighting were reported in almost all the provinces of Syria: Aleppo, Idlib, Latakia, Deir ez-Zor, Al Hasakah, Homs, Hama, Rif Dimashq, Daraa, Quneitra and As Suwayda.

The information is based on public sources compiled by UN organisations, international and national non-governmental organisations, research institutions and different media, among others. Last year, our researchers also conducted a fact-finding mission to Damascus to gather information on special themes concerning Syria to complement the situation report.

The Country Information Service of the Finnish Immigration Service produces information on different countries to support the asylum decision-making. At this point, the newly published country information report did not give reason to update the country guidelines for asylum decision-making concerning Syria.

Country still divided, fighting continues

During the course of last year, the Syrian government achieved significant victories in the war. However, the country is still divided into regions controlled by the Syrian government and into three separate regions controlled by armed opposition groups in northern and eastern Syria.

The opposition groups are concentrated in the rebel area of Idlib in north-western Syria, ruled by the terrorist organisation Hayat Tahrir al-Sham, in the northern parts of the Aleppo province, ruled by rebel groups supported by Turkey, and in north-eastern Syria, which is ruled by the Kurdish-led SDF forces.

In the beginning of 2019 the fighting continued especially in the north-western parts of the country, between pro-government troops and the armed groups in the rebel area of Idlib. In the eastern parts of Syria, the US-led international coalition and SDF forces with support from the coalition continued fighting to conquer the last of the areas still under control of the terrorist organisation ISIS.

Humanitarian and human rights situation still poor

There are several geopolitical factors affecting the future of Syria. How the situation will develop lies largely in the hands of foreign powers, such as Russia, Turkey and Iran, which are supporting the different parties in the war.

According to reports, all parties in the war in Syria have been subjecting civilians to violations of rights, for instance by committing killings, illegal arrests and kidnappings. Especially the Syrian government has committed serious violations of rights against persons it has regarded as its political opponents, and has used sieges and other similar methods of warfare against civilians living in opposition areas.

The humanitarian situation in Syria is poor, and a significant part of the housing stock of the country has been destroyed during the long-lasting war. Also the capital Damascus has suffered in the war, although no large-scale battles have been fought in the city centre during the war. During 2018, over 1.5 million civilians left their homes and fled within the country because of the violence. There have also been reports about large areas contaminated with unexploded ordnance.

The whole report on the situation in Syria can be read in Finnish on our website.

The situation in Syria is also discussed (in Finnish) in the report on the fact-finding mission of the Country Information Service researchers.

Facts: Research-based information on the situation in countries to support decision-making

  • The Country Information Service of the Finnish Immigration Service compiles reports in particular about the countries from which asylum seekers and quota refugees come to Finland.
  • The researchers compile reports about the security situation in the countries as well as other current themes.
  • Country information is constantly produced and updated to support the decision-making. The researchers do not participate in the decision-making.
  • Information about countries is acquired in many other ways as well. Our sources include for instance the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), research institutions, and the country information services of other countries.

Further information for the media

  • Tiina Hyyppä, Researcher at the Country Information Service, email: [email protected], tel. +358 295 433 037

Press release