As I reported yesterday, Iraqis are now subject to the standard visa rules – 15 days stay in Syria. Until now, all Arabs had been allowed to stay in Syria without restriction.
So today there’s been an angry protest by Iraqis who face going home outside the UNHCR (UN High Commissioner for Refugees) office in Damascus. They’re angry not enough is being done.
Photo: John Wreford. Check out his site, he has some of the best Syrian photography around. The sign reads: “How can we return and the violence is still there?”
Iraq is angry that their citizens might be forced to come home. Syrians are angry house prices and food prices are rocketing in Damascus. Iraqis get free health care and education.
Syria, of course, is already strained under the weight of 1 million Iraqi refugees, 400,000 Palestinian refugees, 100,000 refugees from the Israeli Occupied Syrian Golan Heights and countless Lebanese refugees whose houses were destroyed by Israel’s war on Lebanon last summer.
Long ago, Jordan imposed visa similar restrictions on Iraqis, and trapped Iraqi refugees in deplorable conditions at the border post. Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and Iran have banned Iraqi refugees.
Interesting analysis here.