Damascus, Syria – The Syrian authorities issued a decision to allow citizens who fled the war to obtain passports without an intelligence service review.
It is the first time that the Syrian regime has taken such a step after four years of war.
According to observers, this move by the Assad regime will facilitate the upcoming consultations in Geneva next month on the possibility of renewed peace talks between the regime and the opposition, to reach a political solution to the ongoing crisis.
The Syrian Al-Watan newspaper reported that the new measures were detailed in a document sent on Thursday to Syrian embassies around the world.
“This authorised embassies to issue or renew passports for Syrians abroad without having to go through the department of emigration and passports in Damascus,” Al-Watan reported.
The new decision by the regime means that applications would no longer be subject to an intelligence services review as was often the case in the past.
“Passports will be issued to Syrians even if they left in an illegal manner or they hold non-official passports or travel documents,” the document read.
Many of the nearly four million Syrians who have fled their country’s conflict left illegally, fearing arrest or conscription if they passed through an official crossing. Some have lost their passports or left them behind, and others have had their documents expire while they are away.
Al-Watan added that this measure has long been called for by the opposition, and will allay many of the concerns of those who left Syria illegally and will facilitate their return.”
It said the fees associated with obtaining a new passport or a renewal would also be “an important source of foreign exchange” for foreign currency-strapped Syria.
Reporting by: Laila Majdalawi
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