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

MERGE Brief, June 2021

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

Turkish and Russian officials have met in Moscow to discuss the latest development in Libya and Syria. Both parties have arrived at a consensus for implementation of the Russian-Turkey agreement aiming to maintain a ceasefire in Syria and combating the ‘terrorist organizations’ on Syrian territory. The two parties planned a ministerial meeting on June 23 in Berlin to further discuss the implementation of the decisions of the International Conference on Libya.

After Israel’s election, Israel's longest serving prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu left his seat to a new coalition government led by nationalist Naftali Bennet. For the first time in Israel’s history an Arab Party, Raam Party headed by Mansour Abbas became the first Arab party ever to be part of the coalition and government.

A joint decree from the Greek foreign and migration ministries has designated Turkey as a safe country for asylum-seekers from Syria, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Somalia. The decision would allow asylum-seekers from these countries to return to Turkey.

One of the largest medical facilities in Northern Syria, Al-Shifaa Hospital in Afrin has been attacked. International Rescue Committee’s Syria Director said “ This is the 11th attack on health care that has been recorded so far this year, and brings the total number of verified attacks on health care since January 2019 to 124.” According to media reports, the attack completely destroyed the emergency room and the labor and delivery room and at least 18 civilians were killed.

Since the Lebanon economic crisis began in 2019, more than 55% of the population live under the poverty line according to UN data. As the country’s crisis deepens rapidly, a new wave of migrants has emerged pursuing a better future in West Africa. To read more on the Lebanon crisis’ insights stories, click on the news articles suggestions:  

Lebanon at a critical conjuncture, a BIM institute discussion paper written by Ramona Rischke and Nader Talebi has been recently published on Social Science Research Network. Based on TRANSMIT's data collected in 2019-2021, it sheds light on the perspectives of Syrians and Lebanese facing the ongoing multiple crises in Lebanon. It shows that poverty has reached alarming levels while there is massive discontent with the political elite as well as widespread uncertainty and fear of a new armed conflict. Despite these, due to economic hardship, the current migration potential among those who are still residing in Lebanon is very limited.