Driven by Post-War Misery, Syrian Migrants Seek New

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Thousands of Syrian asylum seekers face a host of difficulties in Cyprus amid delays in processing of applications.

Asylum seekers in Cyprus can move out of government-run reception centres after they submit their asylum applications.

They are not permitted to work while their application is pending, though the government provides them with a modest monthly welfare cheque.

With tourism dwindling due to the COVID-19, a compound owner in Chloraka began renting out the flats at cheaper rates.

Through word of mouth, many Syrians moved in and joined others who had already settled there the previous years.

But in January, the Cypriot interior ministry implemented a decree that banned asylum seekers from moving to Chloraka. He cited demographic changes and “social problems”.

Last month, 27 people died when their inflatable dinghy sank in the Channel between France and the UK.

The number of people attempting the crossing has been growing, with more than 26,000 people arriving in the UK so far this year, more than double last year’s total.

More than 2,000 asylum seekers and refugees remained on Poland-Belarus borders for several weeks. This came after Polish authorities refused to let them in.

Their numbers have unprecedentedly risen over the past few weeks amid tension between Belarus and Poland.