Refugees and Asylum-Seekers

UNHCR is mandated to lead and coordinate international action to protect refugees and find solutions for them worldwide. Its primary purpose is to safeguard the rights and well-being of refugees.

In Syria, UNHCR is the only agency that provides registration services and documentation for asylum-seekers and refugees, following which individuals can obtain their residence permit from the Syrian authorities.

As of end January 2024, some 17,100 refugees and asylum-seekers were registered with UNHCR. Most of the registered refugees are from Iraq and reside primarily in urban areas in Damascus, Al-Hasakeh, Aleppo, Homs, Tartous, and Latakia Governorates.

As Syria is not a party to the 1951 Convention and has not enacted refugee or asylum-specific legislation, no specific refugee documentation is issued by the national authorities. However, the authorities issue residency permits to refugees and asylum-seekers who meet immigration law criteria, possess a UNHCR-issued document, a national passport and legally entered into Syria. Possessing UNHCR-issued documents is therefore a prerequisite to regularize refugees’ and asylum-seekers’ stay in the country.