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Syrians seeking asylum in Poland

PR dla Zagranicy
Nick Hodge 05.03.2014 11:19
Statistics have revealed that over 200 Syrian citizens filed for asylum in Poland from 2012 to 2014.

Syrian soldiers walk in front of a damaged building at al-Sahl town on the surrounding of Yarboud city, Damascus countryside, Syria, 04 March 2014. Photo: EPA Handout

Ewa Piechota from the Warsaw branch of Poland's Office for Foreigners (UDSC) has confirmed that among the reasons given by asylum-seekers is “fear of being drafted into the state or the Free Syrian Army.”

She noted that applicants argued that the death sentence or torture could be meted out to those who refused to enlist.

In late February, three Syrian citizens were detained in the Bieszczady Mountains of south east Poland, after trying to cross the border on foot from Ukraine.

The three men, who declared they were aiming to join friends in Germany, immediately filed for asylum.

According to Piechota, a large proportion of Syrian refugees detained in Poland state they are trying to reach Germany or Sweden.

Although the majority of those fleeing Syria are Muslims, some Syrian Christians have also filed for asylum.

Christians make up about nine percent of the Syrian population, including a large community of Syrians of Armenian descent.

Islamic extremist elements within the rebel forces have been widely blamed for attacks on Christians.

It has been estimated that about 15 -25 percent of the rebel forces are tied to groups of Islamic extremists. A large proportion of these fighters, including many of those serving in the Al-Nusra front hail from foreign countries including Saudi Arabia and Libya.

Independent Polish charity SOS dla Zycia (SOS for Life) is raising funds to build a centre for Syria's Christian refugees near the south eastern city of Rzeszow.

According to the UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human rights, over 140,000 Syrians have died since clashes broke out in the spring of 2011.

Although fighting continues, the regime has given up a third of its stockpile of chemical weapons to date, after international pressure forced the deal last year. (nh)

Source: Dziennik Polski

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