Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin - MERGE - Migration and the Middle East

MERGE Brief, July 2021

Here are the significant migration-related developments of last month in and around the Middle East region.

Lebanon’s PM-designate Saad Hariri resigned after nine months of political deadlock in forming a new government. Hariri was nominated as prime minister in late October, three months after the Beirut port explosion which caused the displacement of hundreds of thousands of residents while more than 200 people were killed. Lebanon has been tangled up since late 2019 in a deep political and financial crisis. Following Hariri’s resignation, backed by Hezbollah, the president nominated a Lebanese businessman and former prime minister Najib Mikati who secured enough votes in parliament and has been designated as the head of government. To read more on the subject; click on the news articles suggestions:

Following the withdrawal of US and NATO troops in Afghanistan, the Taliban has increased its control over the country. Tens of thousands of people flee to Iran and Eastern Turkey while tension has quickly accelerated. According to the UN Refugee Agency, about 270.000 people have fled their homes since January. Larger numbers of people make risky migration journeys from Iran across Turkey through overcrowded and unsafe transport that has led to deaths and drownings. At least 12 people are dead and 20 others injured after a minibus carrying the migrants crashed in Turkey’s Van province; 6 people are dead and 60 migrants are missing after a boat sank in Lake Van. According to the Turkish Ministry of Interior General Directorate of Migration Management, Afghans made up the second largest refugee group in Turkey after Syrians. Media reports announced at least 500 Afghans have been crossing from Iran to Turkey every day for the past few weeks. 

Following the flow of Afghan migrants, Ankara has decided to expand the construction of a security wall along its border with Iran. The construction of the border wall has been carried out since 2017, 149 km has been completed in several border cities including Ağrı, Hakkari, Iğdır, and Van. Van Governor Bilmes has also announced that additional military troops have been deployed for “maximum border security.” To read more on the subject; click on the news articles suggestions:

IOM reported that the number of people migrating through sea routes to Europe has increased by 56% so far this year. According to the UN Migration Agency, the number of migrants and refugees who died on dangerous sea routes to Europe more than doubled, while the central Mediterranean route between Libya and Italy is still the deadliest, claiming at least 741 lives.