In the MidEast Policy Brief 'Irresolvable Dilemmas? The Prospects for Repatriation for Syrian Refugees', Research Professor Kristian Berg Harpviken and Research Assistant Bjørn Schirmer-Nilsen address the challenges for Syrian refugees in major host countries, the refugees' eroding opportunities for onward migration, and their prospects for repatriation.
Harpviken and Schirmer-Nilsen show that in all major host countries for Syrian refugees – Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey – hospitality is wearing thin, while an increasing share of refugees face economic deprivation. Openings for third country resettlement have shrunk significantly, as have possibilities for onward migration.
The prospects for repatriation for Syrian refugees are also grim, in terms of economic, social, and security prospects. Despite the mounting pressure for return, over the past five years only 268,000 "voluntary returns" have been registered, and the pace is not picking up. Syrian refugees find themselves in a bind, between staying in increasingly skeptical host communities and returning to an insecure future.
The policy brief is based on the project "Challenges of Syrian Repatriation", funded by the PRIO Middle East Centre through a grant from the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, administered by the Research Council of Norway.