Can Integration Offer Iraqi Refugees in Damascus a Durable Solution?

Authored by: Salam Arabi Katbi

Routledge Handbook on Middle East Cities

Print publication date:  June  2019
Online publication date:  June  2019

Print ISBN: 9781138650749
eBook ISBN: 9781315625164
Adobe ISBN:


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This chapter attempts to disentangle a debate within the study of refugee crises and their durable solutions according to the UNHCR’s 1951 Convention, with its main focus being on integration. The author situates the debate in the context of the Iraqi refugee crisis (2003–2011) by assessing the possibilities for integration of Iraqi refugees into Syria, starting from 2003. Levels of integration in Syria were tested by applying a developed framework alongside an analysis of twenty-six semi-structured interviews. The study’s findings showed significant divergence between existing theories on refugees’ integration and the important case of Iraqi refugees in Syria, revealing that the interrelationships between the three dimensions of integration are not arbitrary but hierarchical, with the legal dimension being prominent. In light of this, the chapter argues that integration can be considered as a possible durable solution, but it requires revision and a more comprehensive model for future studies.

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