Two Thirds of Damascene Want to Emigrate – Report

Almost two thirds of Syrians want to emigrate abroad mainly due to deteriorating living conditions, writes Sowt Al-Asima.

The Operations and Policy Center (OPC) has published a study discussing migration patterns amongst people living in Damascus and the surrounding areas, as a result of deteriorating living conditions, especially during the last two years. 

The study targeted a sample of 600 people from both genders, of different ages, education levels, and living standards. The study included 200 interviews held in the area stretching between the Rakan al-Din and al-Mazraa neighborhoods, 200 interviews conducted in al-Zahira neighborhood, and 200 interviews in the Nahr Aisha neighborhood.

Most are willing to emigrate: reasons and motives

The study revealed that 63.5 percent of respondents want to emigrate abroad. Amongst them, around 60 percent said that they wanted to emigrate due to deteriorating living conditions, while others (18 percent) were motivated by education and job opportunities. The main reason for 14 percent of the study’s respondents was to reunite with relatives overseas.

The main factor that has prevented emigration is a lack of financial means, according to 40 percent of the respondents, whereas family conditions were the main barrier for 23 percent of respondents. Migration routes were the main obstacle for some respondents, who stated that they fear undertaking these dangerous migration processes. 

According to OPC, around 10 percent of the study’s respondents said that they did not apply to emigrate because of their legal status in Syria — some of them are required for compulsory military service, while others are banned from traveling.

Those committed to staying in the country: what are their motives?

53 percent of respondents to the study, who rejected the idea of emigration, said that commitment to personal social networks (including extended families and local ties) is the main reason for their lack of desire to emigrate. Other people said that they are staying in Syria because they have a better life and opportunities; however, their number did not exceed 14 percent, and their ages ranged from 36 to 45 years.

The study showed that about 11 percent of those who refused to emigrate said they decided to remain in Syria out of concern for the country and sentimentality, indicating that they belong to an older and less educated generation.

Europe at the forefront

More than 58 percent of respondents preferred emigrating to Western countries, according to OPC, indicating the link between their decision and the rights granted to refugees in these territories in terms of legal status, living conditions, and future opportunities.

OPC suggested that those willing to live in Western countries have been looking for long-term stability, compared with those who chose the Gulf states (14 percent), and the group that preferred emigration to neighboring countries (around 12 percent of respondents).

According to OPC, those wishing to emigrate to the Gulf states often search for job opportunities that allow them to save money for improving their living conditions and then return to Syria soon.


This article was translated and edited by The Syrian Observer. The Syrian Observer has not verified the content of this story. Responsibility for the information and views set out in this article lies entirely with the author.


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