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Cite as: [2006] UKAIT 00048, [2006] UKAIT 48

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    AR (Kurd: not risk per se) Syria CG [2006] UKAIT 00048


    Date of hearing: 23 March 2006

    Date Determination notified: 07 June 2006


    Mr D K Allen, Senior Immigration Judge
    Mr A R Mackey, Senior Immigration Judge
    Mr A Smith


    Secretary of State for the Home Department RESPONDENT

    For the Appellant: Ms C Hulse, Counsel instructed by Duncan Moghal Solicitors
    For the Respondent: Mr S Ouseley, Home Office Presenting Officer


    A Syrian Kurd with no political history does not face a risk of persecution or breach of his human rights on return to Syria. This decision replaces SY (Kurd – No Political Profile) Syria CG [2005] UKIAT 00039 as country guidance.

  1. The appellant is a citizen of Syria. He claims to be Kurdish and to lack citizenship. He appealed to an Adjudicator, Mr J R L G Varcoe CMG, against the Secretary of State's decision of 14 June 2004 to remove him as an illegal entrant from the United Kingdom. The appellant claimed that his father who had died in 1997 was Kurdish but his mother was Arabic and he had grown up speaking Arabic although he understood some Kurdish. He grew up in the town of Qameshle which is near to both the Turkish and Iraqi borders with Syria and has a large Kurdish majority. He had worked partly as an employee and partly on his own behalf as a builder, and he had got married in January 2004. He said that because of his father's ethnicity he himself was considered to be Kurdish and was a descendant of one of those who had been deprived of citizenship by the Syrian authorities in 1962.
  2. This meant that he was not liable to undertake military service and had no right to a passport. His restricted identity card had to be renewed every six years.
  3. He claimed to have experienced problems on account of an incident that occurred around March 2004. He was disbelieved in relation to that, and there was no effective challenge to the findings in that regard. It was thought, however, by the Vice President of the Immigration Appeal Tribunal who granted permission to appeal that the Adjudicator's findings could be interpreted as accepting that the appellant was an undocumented Syrian Kurd, and it was arguable that if he fell into that category he was at risk on return to Syria.
  4. By virtue of a Transitional Provisions Order the appeal took effect as a reconsideration before the Asylum and Immigration Tribunal. At a hearing on 6 September 2005 a panel of the AIT found there to be an error of law in the Adjudicator's determination. Reference was made to paragraph 37 of the Adjudicator's determination where he expressed doubt as to whether the appellant's father was Kurdish given that the appellant's mother and wife were both Arabs, and the Adjudicator said he had serious doubts and was not in a position to make a definitive finding that the appellant was not Kurdish as he had claimed. He went on to say at paragraph 43 that there must be serious doubt as to whether the appellant was of Kurdish origin and at paragraph 45 he commented on objective evidence concerning what would happen to a Kurd with restricted rights on return to Syria. He referred to his serious doubts as to whether the appellant fell into this category having alluded earlier to the difficulties over his claimed ethnicity, and considered that the fact that he had both an identification card and birth certificate went contrary to objective evidence indicating that descendants of those deprived of citizenship were unable to obtain such documents. The Tribunal went on to state that although the Adjudicator had serious doubts about these aspects of the appellant's claim he had failed to make clear findings as to whether he accepted or rejected them, and it was concluded that this amounted to an error of law. Thereafter the Tribunal set out various matters in relation to which it was necessary to make findings and we set these out now in order.
  5. 1. Whether the appellant was Kurdish.
    2. Whether his father was deprived of Syrian citizenship in or about 1962.
    3. Whether the appellant was likely to be treated as a descendant of those deprived of Syrian citizenship.
    4. If so, what were the consequences.
    5. Is the appellant no more than a person who has failed to establish his nationality to the authorities in Syria, which failure may be no more than an inability to establish the right to claim Syrian nationality.
    6. Alternatively, has the Syrian Government effectively deprived him of citizenship and the benefits flowing from it which may arguably constitute persecution.
    7. What is the effect of being the holder of a Syrian identification card and birth certificate on his claim to be a person deprived of citizenship.
    8. Does the treatment of Kurds in Syria amount to persecution.
    9. Does the treatment of Kurds deprived of their citizenship in 1962 and/or their descendants amount to persecution in Syria.
    10. Does the treatment of those Kurds who hold identification cards and birth certificates amount to persecution in Syria.
    11. On the basis of the above findings, what is the risk faced by the appellant:
    (a) on arrival at an airport in Syria and/or if readmitted, on
    (b) returning to his home area; or
    (c) to another part of Syria.
  6. The hearing before us took place on 23 March 2006. Ms C Hulse, instructed by Duncan Moghal Solicitors appeared on behalf of the appellant and Mr S Ouseley appeared on behalf of the Secretary of State. There had been a previous hearing on 23 November 2005 after which directions were sent out indicating that the case would be a country guidance case and setting deadlines for the filing of an expert report and response. The case was listed for hearing on 7 February 2006 at which time further evidence was adduced by the Home Office and it was considered to be appropriate to adjourn in order to obtain the comments of the appellant's expert, Dr George, on those.
  7. At the hearing on 23 March 2006 after discussion we clarified to the representatives that the credibility issues concerning what the appellant said had happened to him in March 2004 after inter-communal fighting and the claimed damage to a statue were not before us since it had not been effectively challenged before the IAT. The issues for reconsideration were as listed above, and therefore the appellant's evidence was to relate to those issues which we considered were clearly severable from the historical account that he had given of the events of March 2004.
  8. The appellant gave evidence through an Arabic interpreter. He had previously provided what is described as a supplementary witness statement which is undated but seems however to have been made on 22 August 2005, according to paragraph 1 of that statement, and also a more recent statement on 2 March 2006. He was referred to the supplementary statement and said he had instructed his solicitors to prepare it and was aware of the contents and it was truthful and to the best of his knowledge it was correct. The more recent statement dealt with his Kurdish identity card which he had with him today. He was aware of what it said and was content for these statements to be his evidence in chief.
  9. He then said that he did not understand paragraph 3 of the supplementary statement which he had been taken through. It was read back to him by the interpreter and he said it was not like that. Ms Hulse asked him if his father had been Syrian and whether he had Syrian citizenship and he said that he had been before 1962 but in 1962 citizenship had been withdrawn from "us". His mother had Syrian citizenship. He did not get Syrian citizenship from his mother, because according to their law they followed the father and not the mother.
  10. He was asked whether a Kurd could go and get married and he said that some of the Kurds were allowed to get married, but they were not allowed to register the marriage and he thought it was called common law marriage. He was asked whether it was right that a Kurd could get married in the mosque and he said, "kind of". It was not a marriage as such but in the mosque they could allow the marriage to take place. He was asked whether as far as he knew Arabic Syrians with Syrian citizenship registered their marriages and he said "no" and then he changed his answer and said "of course they could and it was normal". He understood the question in a different way.
  11. He was asked whether he owned any property that he had bought and said no. He lived in the family house. He was asked whether it was owned or rented and he said it was registered under his mother's name. He did not know why because it had happened a long time ago, and it was an agreement between his mother and father.
  12. He produced his ID card, and copies of this and translations were in the bundle. He was asked whether he believed it was the same as a standard Syrian ID card or was it a Kurdish ID card and he said it was not the card that was issued to Syrians but to some of the Kurds, his group. He was asked whether it was true that Syrians had one kind of ID card and Kurds another one which was orange and he said yes, of course.
  13. It was put to him that the card he had produced was not orange and he was asked whether it was the same as an Arabic Syrian ID card. He said that there were two categories of Kurds, one did not hold any ID cards but according to what had been said they were given ID cards and these were red. Those Kurds from whom the government had withdrawn citizenship in 1962 had begun to use those cards and they were like the one that he had produced. It was put to him that the card he produced was neither red nor orange and he was asked whether it was similar to the Arab Syrian ID card and said no. He was asked whether it was the case that Kurds who had been deprived of citizenship had orange cards and said not at all, they did not have either citizenship or an ID. He did not have an orange ID card, only the ones who did not have any citizenship from the beginning did. He did not have citizenship. He was asked why then he did not have an orange card and said in 1962 they had withdrawn citizenship from people who had citizenship. Orange and red were to be equated. His white card was different from a full citizens card. He was asked how he had obtained it and he said in any area they would appoint a person in charge of the area so if a person lost their ID they could go to this person and give evidence and they would register the evidence on a piece of paper. He had got the card through this person and this person worked for the government. He could not go to another person in charge of another area and ask him for a card.
  14. He was asked at what age ID cards were usually issued in Syria and said it was when the person was fourteen or fifteen. He said he was about fourteen when he got his and then he said that every six years they changed the card so perhaps he was fourteen then. He had got this card from the man in charge in his area in 2000 or 2001. He had not had to do anything to get it, just provide photographs and the old ID card. There was a fee perhaps of one hundred or one hundred and fifty Syrian Lire. If he went to the police he could produce this. That was how a person was known in his city.
  15. When cross-examined by Mr Ouseley the appellant said that anyone who had an ID card would have to pay the one hundred lire charge. It was not akin to a bribe. He confirmed that this was a genuine properly issued ID card. If they issued an ID to an unknown person then the person issuing the card could be liable to prison. This was because they were a government employee.
  16. He was asked where he got married and said that it had been at home. It was put to him that at interview he had told the interviewer that he was married in El-Gameshly and he said yes they had to register the marriage. He was asked why if he had married at home he had said in interview that he was married at the court. He said that the religious clerk could not register the marriage unless he received a paper. He was asked whether he married in court or not and he said no he had not said that; he had said that he had bought a paper from the court. It was put to him that that contrasted with what the form said and he said he did not know why it had been put down at interview that he had got married in a court and he had told the interviewer that he had got a paper from the court.
  17. He was asked whether his marriage was registered and he said it was registered with the religious clerk but it was a common law marriage not a legal marriage. He agreed that he had said the marriage was registered and he was asked why he would register the marriage with the court if it were not legal. He did not understand this question and it was put to him that he had gone to the court to register the marriage and he said yes and agreed it must have been a legal marriage. When it was put to him that it must therefore have been a legal marriage he questioned from what point of view it could be said to be legal. It was put to him that it seemed from his answers to be a legal marriage if he had registered it with the Syrian authorities and he replied, all right. He was asked whether he agreed that it was a legal marriage then and he said it had to be a legal marriage of course. His wife was an Arab and she had to have her rights. He was asked why he had earlier said that it was a common law marriage and he said yes it was a common law marriage and this was the procedure concerning marriage in Syria. They had to go to the religious clerk and then they had to register the marriage. It was put to him that the evidence said that Kurds could not register marriages and he reiterated that his wife was Arab. It was put to him that this contrasted with what he had said earlier that the marriage was unregistered and he could not go to the government and the marriage was not legal and why it was different now and he said he had not changed his story.
  18. He was asked whether he said that he had had problems as a Syrian Kurd and replied "all right" and when he was asked whether he was saying yes or no he said no though he asked for clarification of the meaning of the word "problems". He was asked to tell Mr Ouseley what he meant by this and he said that he referred to this problem or a problem with the government. He was asked whether he had a problem in his life purely as a Kurd and he said yes racial problems. His answer to Question 21 at interview was put to him concerning this and he said "all right", and the question being referred to was a specific question about problems with the government. It was put to him that the question had been whether he had had problems and he said in the reply he had given to the question he had understood he thought it related to problems with the government and had not taken any part in politics. He was asked whether nothing had happened to him prior to 2004 and he said nothing with the government.
  19. He had been able to work in Syria doing private work but not to work in a government department. He had gone to school in Syria. He was asked whether he spoke Kurdish and he said he understood the Kurdish language but was not allowed to use it at home or in the school or in the street and they used Arabic. He was not able to speak Kurdish one hundred per cent. Seventy to eighty per cent of his village was Kurdish. None of them spoke Kurdish in the street as this was not allowed, but only at home. Some of the Kurds spoke Kurdish at home. His father had been able to speak Kurdish but as his mother was Arab he did not speak Kurdish at home; also due to the problems he had not wanted to speak Kurdish at home.
  20. He had agreed that he said his uncle was very rich. He had shops and used to work. He was an Arab. He agreed that his own brothers had worked doing private work and they had lived as a family together. He was asked whether he would be able to register that house in his name and he said he had not tried to do that as Kurds were allowed private possessions only, where they could live, nothing else. He was asked whether he was saying that no Kurd was allowed to register their house and he said no they were not allowed to buy properties apart from houses. He was asked whether once they bought their house they could register it with the government and he said he that they could only register it with a solicitor. The effect of that was to guarantee their rights, nothing else. He was asked what the rights were that were protected and said just private possessions, nothing else. If he bought a house he could register it with a solicitor. He was asked whether if he did that he could pass it on to his children and he said only if he made a will and registered it with the solicitor.
  21. He had not had to do military service. He had never been involved in politics in the past. He was asked whether he had been in contact with any Kurdish groups whilst he was in the United Kingdom and he said they had contacted him because he was not able to contact them from home. He had not been to any meetings.
  22. He was asked where a person would go in Syria if they were ill, for treatment, and he said one could go to the doctor just normally. It would not be a government doctor but a private doctor. He had never needed to go to a government hospital for more serious treatment. Nor had any members of his family. He was asked whether there had been a doctor nearby who had been able to treat him and he said not nearby, but there was a doctor in the city and they went to see him. This was a GP. If they needed more serious medical treatment then they used to go to a private hospital. His mother was able to go to the state hospital and his wife also.
  23. He had been at school in Syria for some six or seven years until he was fourteen or fifteen. He had left of his own accord and he could have stayed in school for nine years. He could not have gone on to college or university after that if he had wanted as only people who had Syrian ID were allowed to do that. He was not allowed a vote in Syria. He could not use his ID card to travel to other parts of Syria.
  24. He was asked whether his father had registered in the 1962 census and he believed he had prior to 1962 as they had withdrawn his citizenship in 1962. His father had then been registered as a foreigner.
  25. It was put to him that the Home Office information was that people in the appellant's position had to do military service and he said "no". He asked on what basis that could be if he did not hold Syrian citizenship.
  26. On re-examination the appellant when asked said that he had never bought a property and had never gone to a solicitor for a property so he did not have personal knowledge of the procedures but only according to what he had heard.
  27. He did not have children. If he had a son he would not do military service as he was not a Syrian national. He was asked how the Syrian authorities would know that the son was not Syrian and he said it was as he was not registered with the Syrian Government and departments. He could not register his son in court but only with the person in charge of their area. He could not do this in court as the son would not hold Syrian citizenship. When a child was born you would go to the person in charge of the whole area and register them yourself. An Arab Syrian would go to the government department and register himself and this contrasted with the appellant's situation.
  28. The next witness was Dr Alan George. Dr George describes himself as a freelance consultant, writer and journalist specialising in Middle Eastern political and economic affairs. He has provided two reports, the first dated 2 December 2005 and the second dated 25 February 2006. In the first report Dr George set out his qualifications and previous relevant work history. He had read the appellant's witness statement of 21 April 2004 and the reasons for refusal letter and the Adjudicator's determination first and had read various other documents. He noted with regard to the appellant's ID card that it appeared to be genuine but it did not appear to carry an official rubber stamp mark as would be expected.
  29. In his report Dr George deals in some detail with the relevant history of Syria in particular with regard to the Kurds. At paragraph 30 he confirms the accuracy of the appellant's evidence that Kurds without citizenship cannot undertake military service. He notes again the absence of an official rubber stamp mark on the ID card, a matter which he refers to in the second report, as we set out below.
  30. At paragraph 46 Dr George concludes that he has no reason to suspect that the appellant may not be Kurdish. At paragraph 28 he states that the appellant's nationality and ethnicity depend solely on those of his father, and goes on to state at paragraph 46 that proficiency in Kurdish or knowledge of Kurdish culture or traditions are irrelevant in defining Kurdish ethnic status in Syria. A Kurd he says is simply a person whose father is or was a Kurd.
  31. Dr George goes on to consider the views of the authorities in Syria about asylum seekers, the consequences of illegal exit from Syria and evidence concerning arrest of forcibly returned asylum seekers. He does not consider that internal relocation is feasible.
  32. In the second report Dr George provides at paragraph 2 some clarification of an aspect of his employment history, making it clear that for four years between 1980 and 1984 he worked for a public relations company, The Main Event Limited, whose clients included the governments of the United Arab Emirates and Libya and the London office of the Palestine Liberation Organisation. He had worked for this firm on a full time freelance basis.
  33. He goes on to comment on two articles that had been produced concerning indications that Syria was or might be going to grant citizenship to a number of Kurds. These are respectively an article in the New York Times dated 28 April 2005 and an article in Kurdish Media dated 29 January 2006. Dr George notes at paragraph 5 that the possibility of the Syrian Government granting citizenship to stateless Kurds has been a subject of speculation for years but considers that government hints and declarations on the subject must be treated with great caution. He refers to a report, of which we have not been provided a copy, entitled "The Syrian Kurds: A People Discovered" a report published in January 2006 by the Royal Institute of International Affairs (Chatham House). The point is made that promises of this kind have been made and broken many times before but the fear is that little will change and even the largest figure stated is less than half the total number of Kurds without citizenship. This is a reference to an announcement in the summer of 2005 that the government was considering awarding nationality to 120,000 Kurds.
  34. Dr George also spoke to a Dr Jawad Mella, Chairman of the London based Western Kurdistan Association which represents Syrian Kurds, who was emphatically of the view that the Syrian Government was not about to grant citizenship to stateless Kurds.
  35. Thereafter Dr George returned to an issue which he had also commented on in the earlier report, that being the general issue of Syria's stateless Kurds and the appellant's status. He observed that there are two broad sub-categories of stateless Syrian Kurd. The first are known as Ajanib which comprises those who were registered as "foreigners" in the 1961 census, and their descendants: they form, he says, the great majority of the stateless Kurds and are issued with special identity cards of the type described in the earlier report. The second category are termed Maktoumeen who comprise those, and their descendants, who were not registered in the 1962 census. He comments on a conflict between Human Rights Watch evidence and evidence from the Danish Immigration Service Report regarding the Maktoumeen and considers that the Human Rights Watch view is correct and that Maktoumeen do not include the children of parents who were both registered as "foreigners" in the census. He concluded that the appellant would be one of the Maktoumeen who include the children of "foreigners" married to women who are Syrian citizens. He states that Maktoumeen are not issued with the special identity cards issued to the Ajanib.
  36. He went on to provide further thoughts on the appellant's identity card. He had a meeting with Dr Mella to whom we have referred above, who showed him several examples of authentic Maktoumeen identity cards which all carried the Interior Ministry rubberstamp mark. He considered that questions were raised about the appellant's identity card assuming that he is a Maktoumeen as he would not then have been given a special identity card of the type issued to the Ajanib category of stateless Kurds. He considered, however, that there were two possible explanations, one was that there was an administrative error and the other was that the card was not genuine in the sense that it was not issued officially. Alternatively it could have been obtained by bribing an official or as a favour from an official but he did not consider that it was an out and out forgery. He emphasised that from top to bottom the Syrian political economic system is rife with corruption.
  37. Dr George also dealt with the issues of property ownership and marriage. He stated that in Syria marriages become legal when they are formally registered and that marriages involving stateless Kurds can be formally registered only where the wife is an Ajanib and the husband is a citizen and he referred to a table to which we will come shortly at page 6 of a report of Refugees International, "Buried Alive: Status of Kurds in Syria", January 2006. He went on to state that this did not mean that marriages, which are contracts between two families as well as two individuals, do not take place between for example Maktoumeen husbands and wives.
  38. As regards property, stateless Kurds can own property but cannot register that property in their own names and typically the property they own is registered in the names of friends or relatives who are citizens. This, it is said, places them in a somewhat vulnerable position since they have to rely on the good faith of such people and cannot pass on ownership of property to their children.
  39. Dr George then went on to deal further with aspects of risk to forcibly returned asylum seekers, referring to a report of 19 September 2005 of Amnesty International with reference to the widespread use of torture in Syrian detention and investigation centres and citing various cases of Syrians who had been living abroad and were forcibly returned to Syria.
  40. In his oral evidence Dr George reiterated the distinction between Ajanib and Maktoumeen. It was possible to have members of the same family in both categories. Theoretically it would be possible for members of the same family, e.g. brothers, to be in different categories at the time when the registration occurred as one could be registered and the other not.
  41. As regards the differences concerning property ownership between the categories on the one hand of Arabs who were Syrian citizens, and on the other hand Ajanib and Maktoumeen, full citizens could own property and have a passport. Ajanib and Maktoumeen were unable to own property in the sense of registering it in their names as they were not nationals. Essentially the same differences existed with regard to ability to access public services. There was generally no right for Ajanib and Maktoumeen although in practice they might attend the lowest levels of the education system.
  42. As regards registration of births, deaths and marriages it could be very confusing as it depended upon the appellant's background. He referred to the table in the Refugees International Report to which we have referred above. The limitations with regard to marriage depended upon whether the man was a full citizen and to whom he was married. Usually Ajanib and Maktoumeen could not register their marriages, and in Syrian law that legalised the marriage. So Kurds could be married informally only, as the marriage had to be registered with the state authorities.
  43. As regards ownership of property, if an Ajanib and Maktoumeen registered in the name of a trusted friend or relative who was in a position to register it with the state then this could be done so that they would own it informally but not legally.
  44. He was referred to page 6 of his supplementary report concerning forcible return of asylum seekers. People who were Syrian nationals but not citizens did not get passports. If a person returned without documentation especially lacking a passport then they would come to the adverse attention of the authorities. If a full Syrian national returned with ID but as a failed asylum seeker there would be problems potentially as Syria was a police state with intelligence services and they kept a close eye on Syrians abroad and there was some evidence that applying for asylum was seen as demonstrating dissent or disloyalty which would be a crucial matter. With reference to the table at page 6 of the Refugees International Report he said that the husband had to be a national to be able to register. Maktoumeen were unregistered.
  45. As regards the suggestions that citizenship was going to be granted to some stateless Kurds, he said that declarations of intent did not mean much in Syria. This happened periodically but nothing had happened and he was not optimistic that it would happen soon.
  46. When cross-examined by Mr Ouseley Dr George confirmed that he has an expertise in the Middle East generally and there was reference to the Palestinian Authority also in the list of countries of expertise in the ILPA and EIN Directory of Experts entry under his name. He was referred to what he said about his role concerning the PLO. The journal for which he had written was not an official journal of the PLO but was issued by their office in London. His firm had had a contract with the PLO to do this. He was asked whether the report favoured the PLO position and he said it was a public relations company and a public relations journal so yes. He had written a wide range of articles including articles concerned with the progress of the Lebanese civil war and the role of the Palestinian Authority in that and also concerning Israeli practices in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. He had not written about the misdeeds of the PLO as it was a PR journal. He had done so elsewhere however. It was put to him that it could be seen to affect his objectivity as an expert and he said he had worked for a company and had not been working for the PLO but had written articles for the magazine. He was asked why he had not mentioned this in his original CV or in the ILPA and EIN Directory and he said it had not seemed to him to be particularly significant. He contended that implicit in what Mr Ouseley was saying was that the articles were not accurate, but they were based on the United Nations, Amnesty International and Reuters Reports. At the time the PLO had been advocating a negotiated peace with Israel. It was put to him that he had taken one side of a political argument and he said this was as any public relations person would. He said that he could list every journal he had written for and there were endless magazines. The office had done work for the Lebanon also and they were opposed to the PLO and he had written about Lebanon also. He accepted that Lebanon tortured political prisoners. He had not written about that in that magazine but in others.
  47. He was asked whether he believed the Syrian state could ever change and he said it was very difficult as it was a patronage system and at every level individuals had an interest in maintaining the status quo and there was no realistic likelihood of improvement.
  48. He had last been in Syria at the end of 2001 he thought. He had become unpopular after his book had been published and visas had become impossible to obtain although more recently he had been told by the Syrian Ambassador that it would be possible to go. He had had recent contact with Munin Ali who was referred to in the introduction to his book and was employed by the Ministry of Information but had not had contact recently with any of the other members of the Ministry of Information since the book had been written.
  49. He was of the view that it was unlikely that Kurds would be granted citizenship. He was asked about Dr Mella and said he was not a member of government in exile, having never claimed that, but his organisation represented Syrian Kurds. He did not know what his position was on the question of a separate state for Kurds but considered that Dr Mella would advocate Kurdish statehood. He was not representative in the sense of having been elected but the organisation hosted cultural and political events including demonstrations. It was not a very high profile organisation.
  50. He had not sought to contact the named person in the Kurdish Media article. It was very difficult to assess such a report and the question was what action flowed from it. Syria monitored international telephone calls so Shakib Hajou, who was referred to in the article, would not say anything different if telephoned. One knew almost instinctively who was worth contacting after years of dealing with Syria and this was of no importance; it was a question of what followed from it. It was put to him that it was his duty to investigate, and Dr George said his duty was to the real world and he tried to keep objective and had developed an understanding of how to understand Syria and such contact would not assist to understand Syria. He was asked why therefore he had telephoned Dr Mella about the matter and he said Dr Mella had not been speaking on a monitored telephone and they had spoken before and he trusted Dr Mella's assessment of the situation. He moved in the Syrian Kurdish context and Dr George attached more significance to his views. It was put to him that Mr Hajou lived in Syria and Dr George said that he could live in London and keep in close contact with what was happening in Syria. Mr Hajou might be close to the regime.
  51. It was suggested to him that Dr Mella might say what he did as he had no interest in believing in change and he said that anything was possible but you had to make measured judgments. He did not consider Dr Mella to be fanciful and the Chatham House Report endorsed his view.
  52. He was asked why he had not contacted Munir Ali, the Director of Public Information in Foreign Media at the Information Ministry, and he said that Mr Ali was an Aloumi which was a sect which was especially loyal to the regime especially in security areas and he was the last person who would give Dr George an accurate assessment of the situation and probably would not know. It was suggested that surely he should have approached him and he said that Munir Ali's side of the story was in the articles. If he wanted to know if stateless Syrian Kurds believed it would happen then they would be the ones who would be affected the most and the most worthwhile people to approach.
  53. As regards the future of Kurds in Syria, from his reports it could be seen that he saw scant reason to be optimistic about the status of Kurds and he would believe progress when he saw it.
  54. it was put to Dr George that the appellant had said his marriage was registered and his wife was an Arab and she was a full citizen and this made him a Syrian national it was suggested. Dr George said that if the appellant's marriage was legally registered he would be a Syrian national and would have a passport. It was put to him that the appellant could have destroyed his passport. Reference was made to the concerns he had had about the ID card and Dr George said he had had doubts. Other Kurds also got cards to which they were not entitled. It was put to him that the appellant had not said that he had paid a bribe, but he said he had paid a normal fee so even if he were Syrian he could have got it by another means to boost an asylum claim, Dr George agreed that it would be possible to get a Syrian passport by bribes, indeed he could do so himself.
  55. He was referred to his second report concerning return as a failed asylum seeker, and a reference to the Amnesty International Report. Dr George referred also to an update from the top of page 7 and another report concerning the person referred to there who had been released on 22 January 2006 having lost a lot of weight and was depressed having been tortured. There was a possibility of awareness that an asylum claim had been made, from the Syrian community or if the United Kingdom authorities escorted the appellant back to Syria. He would be questioned, having returned to the United Kingdom without a passport. He was asked what would happen if the appellant showed his card and he said that Ajanib and Maktoumeen did not have passports so having been abroad would cause consternation. He was asked what the position would be if the appellant was Syrian and not Kurdish and said he could go back as a Syrian passport holder and it was not known whether they would know if he had claimed asylum. If he were Syrian he could go to the embassy and get a passport but this would be difficult. If it was assumed he was a Syrian who had claimed asylum having left illegally then there would be further reason for attention on return. If the authorities were unaware there was an asylum application and that he had left illegally they would look for an exit stamp and there would be a penalty. The report mentioned the likely sentence.
  56. Dr George did not know what portion of Syrians went to university. It was compulsory to go to primary school and most went to secondary school and the better off to university. The school leaving age was likely to be fifteen or sixteen.
  57. As regards healthcare in Syria, as to whether most Syrians went to a state doctor or hospital it was a question of money. The public health system in Syria was very bad.
  58. As to whether one could get public sector work if Kurdish, there was a difference between the rules on paper and the reality. Low level public sector work was likely to be possible. As regards the vote, Kurds could not vote. Syrians who could vote had no capacity to change the government.
  59. On re-examination Ms Hulse asked about the categories with regard to registration of marriage in the Refugees International paper. One could get married in a mosque or in their home and be made legal by registration with the local Population Registry Office, in the Mukhtar's home at one end of the scale or at the Ministry at the other end. It was a contract between two families. That was the case also if the marriage was between a Kurd and a Syrian. They would be married and this was considered very seriously by both families. In everyday language you would describe it as legal. It was not a marriage against the law if two Kurds married. It was in full accordance with Sharia law which was a source of legislation. It would lack only the official registration which tied in with citizenship.
  60. We allowed Mr Ouseley to ask further questions in response. It was put to Dr George that the appellant had said that he had registered his marriage in a court house and Dr George questioned what he had meant by that and what he had done. He would take it to mean that he had registered in a formal legal way. The context in Syria was different and it was a question of what had actually happened. It was put to him that it was highly unlikely that a person would register a marriage at a public court house if it was not registered and he questioned what court it was and it should be the religious court. It was put to him that the appellant had said it was registered and Dr George suggested it was necessary to be cautious as to what he had meant and what had happened. It was a very different society.
  61. In his submissions Mr Ouseley contended that it had not been shown that the appellant was Kurdish and therefore was not stateless. He had said that his marriage had been legally registered at a court house which was consistent with being a Syrian Arab. The appellant's evidence had been contradictory as to whether the marriage was a common law or a lawful marriage. The only category that he fell within in the Refugees International table was that of a Syrian married to a Syrian. His family had not even spoken Kurdish at home. The ID card was also relevant. Such cards, it was said, could be easily obtained. At interview he had said he had had no problems on account of his ethnicity. He said he thought this was with regard to the government but it had been a specific question. He thought he knew how he would be able to register property although it was said that Kurds were not allowed to do so. What he said conflicted with the objective evidence. Dr George had doubts about the ID card but the appellant said it was genuine and had not said he had paid for it. Even if the Tribunal found he was Kurdish then there were doubts as to what he was. He could have citizenship as well.
  62. The Tribunal was urged to treat Dr George's evidence with extreme caution since it was contended that he was not objective or professional. He had not made it clear except subsequently that he had previously written articles for a public relations agency in support of the PLO and his enquiries with regard to such matters as likely citizenship for Kurds were not balanced. It would have been common sense to go to a wide range of sources. In fact he had gone to an organisation which he described as not being heavyweight.
  63. It was argued that stateless Kurds did not face a situation where there was a real risk of persecution or breach of their human rights. It was clear that there were different degrees of citizenship but it was necessary to consider the practical effects which showed limited restrictions with regard to the situation of Syrian Arabs. The relevant thresholds were not crossed.
  64. As regards return as a failed asylum seeker there were a number of sources of evidence for this. There would have to be political activity abroad for a person to be at risk and that was not true of the appellant. It was pure speculation on the part of Dr George to suggest that the Syrians would definitely know he was a failed asylum seeker.
  65. In her submissions Ms Hulse relied on the earlier skeleton and amended skeleton. She accepted that there were inconsistencies in some of the appellant's evidence today. If Mr Ouseley were right that the appellant was a Syrian Arab pretending to be a Kurd then he would surely have got his facts right. His evidence was consistent with being a Kurd and it was not self serving. It was quite clear that the marriage was common law. There was the element of it being in the mosque which was not illegal and it had been registered. There was a difficulty here, which it was suggested was one of language. If he were a Kurd he could not register his marriage, but the authorities did not mind if he was registered or not, but his wife's family would mind so at one level it was a legal marriage. His evidence could not be explained on the basis that he was a Syrian Arab who was not telling the truth.
  66. There was no indication that a person could be Kurdish with citizenship in Syria. As regards the attack on Dr George's evidence, it was clear that he had written adverse articles about Lebanon as well as positive ones. It was a question of what had been commissioned in each case and he seemed to deal impartially with the matters of interest concerning any Middle Eastern country. His reports had not been criticised as being inaccurate. The attack on his research methodology was not soundly based. It made sense to ask the opposition party rather than asking the government about grants of citizenship to Syrian Kurds. The relevant issues were covered effectively in Dr George's reports. It was clear that in the context of Syria some things were plausible that might be implausible elsewhere and it was for the Tribunal to decide on these matters.
  67. It was contended that Syrian Kurds were persecuted. Emphasis should particularly be placed on the inability to vote, limited access to social provision housing and education and employment and inability to travel at will in and out of Syria and clearly being second class citizens. The Convention reason was ethnicity.
  68. With regard to risk on return, Syria was clearly not a civilised country. Torture was routine. The appellant had left illegally and there were clear punishments for that. He would be interrogated initially and would be seen to have criticised Syria abroad, which was not tolerated. There would be suspicion even if the reasons for his departure were unclear, and the enquiries would not be pleasant. The Tribunal was asked to look at the evidence contained in the objective bundle and in the two reports.
  69. We reserved our determination.
  70. Conclusions

  71. We start with the question of whether or not the appellant is Kurdish, as clearly if we conclude he is not, a very great deal of the evidence which we would otherwise have to consider becomes redundant. He claims, as we have seen, to have had an Arab mother and also to have an Arab wife. He said that there were significant limits on the extent to which people were allowed to speak Kurdish other than in their own homes and that he himself understands a good deal of Kurdish but does not speak it. It is also relevant to note apparent inconsistencies as between his evidence and what was said to be the position of the Kurds. There is the somewhat confused issue of his marriage, to which it will be appropriate to return subsequently. In the SEF at paragraph 1.79 when he was asked where his marriage was held he said it was in El-Gameshly Court, he thought. He was asked where he registered the marriage and said it was at the court. In his oral evidence he said that Kurds were not allowed to register their marriages and he thought it was called common law marriage. In cross-examination he first said he was married at home and then said that they had to register the marriage with the religious clerk and had got a paper from the court. He said that his marriage was registered with the religious clerk but it was a common law marriage not a legal marriage. He seemed thereafter to agree when it was put to him that it must have been a legal marriage although he queried for what purpose it was said to be legal. He then said that it had to be a legal marriage as his wife was an Arab and she had to have her rights. Thereafter however he reiterated that it was a common law marriage and said that the procedure of marriage in Syria was that they had to go to the religious clerk and then had to register the marriage. It was put to him that the evidence said that Kurds could not register their marriages but he reiterated the fact that his wife was Arab.
  72. There is also the question of his ID card. At page 30 of his first report Dr George said that stateless Syrian Kurds could not obtain standard Syrian Identity Cards of the type issued to the majority of the population but rather are issued with a special identity card that categorised them as "foreigners". A description is provided, taken from a Human Rights Watch Report of October 1996. Dr George noted that the appellant's identity card conformed with that description although it did not carry an official rubber stamp mark.
  73. In the second report Dr George commented that although the appellant's card conformed with the cards issued to Ajanib, it did not carry the rubber stamp mark. He consulted Dr Mella, to whom we have referred above, about this, and set out various possible explanations which we have also set out above concerning the identity card. This includes the possibility that the card had not been issued officially or that there has been an administrative error or it was obtained as a result of bribing an official. In his most recent statement however the appellant said no more than that he had paid one hundred lire to get the card from the local Mukhtar, and he did not suggest that this was a consequence of bribery.
  74. We have seen the card and have before us translations of what is written on it. There are issues to which we shall return about the implications of the appellant having this card, but we consider, bearing in mind the suggestions in Dr George's report as to why despite his inability to speak much Kurdish and the fact that he did not speak it even at home, that the explanations for this are reasonable ones and in the light of what is said on the card and the appellant's evidence taken as a whole in relation to the claim to be Kurdish we accept, bearing in mind the lower standard of proof, that he is Kurdish and therefore we must go on to consider the consequences of this for his claim.
  75. The appellant's evidence was that his father had Syrian citizenship but was deprived of this in 1962. According to the Chatham House paper "Syrian Kurds: A People Discovered", the 1962 census arbitrarily stripped one hundred and twenty to one hundred and fifty thousand Kurdish citizens of Syrian citizenship. These stateless people became known as the Ajanib. Those who failed to take part in the 1962 census or were born of unions between Ajanib and Syrian citizens cannot even be officially registered and are known as Maktoumeen. Dr George's report, referring also to the Danish Immigration Service Report 2001 and the Human Rights Watch Report of 1966, notes a conflict between the information on the Maktoumeen between those reports. Dr George prefers the view of Human Rights Watch that Maktoumeen do not include the children of parents who were both registered as "foreigners" in the census. It is however agreed that the Maktoumeen include the children of "foreigners" married to women who are Syrian citizens, and that accords with what is said in the Chatham House Report. It would appear therefore to be common ground between these reports that the appellant is one of the Maktoumeen.
  76. It is rather surprising in the light of this that Dr George then goes on to state that the appellant's identity card conforms to cards issued to Ajanib. At paragraph 15 of his supplementary report he stated that Maktoumeen are not issued even with the special identity cards issued to Ajanib. The Chatham House Report suggests that the situation for the Maktoumeen is worse than that for the Ajanib although it goes into no real detail about that.
  77. There are therefore problems in the evidence in this regard which we find extremely difficult to resolve. The objective evidence suggests that the appellant is one of the Maktoumeen and yet he has an Ajanib card. It may in the end perhaps make no great difference if we conclude either on the one hand that both categories are treated in such a way as to amount to persecution or if we conclude that both are treated in such a way that they are not, but it is a matter which must cast some doubt on the evidence. The simple answer may be that there has been a mistake or bribery of some kind, but we have the appellant's evidence which we see no reason to doubt that he obtained his card perfectly lawfully.
  78. We see no reason not to accept the appellant's evidence that his father was deprived of Syrian citizenship in about 1962 though as we say the consequences of that are unclear to the extent of it being difficult to say whether he is Ajanib or Maktoumeen. Dr George's evidence, however, is on the basis that the situation for either category of stateless Syrian Kurd is essentially the same, and we shall proceed on the basis that what the general evidence in his report and in the other reports says about the difference between their civic rights and how they are treated in comparison to that of the situation of Syrian Arabs who are citizens will be reflected in our discussion below.
  79. It is perhaps appropriate for us to provide some general comments at this point on Dr George's evidence. As we have noted above, Mr Ouseley invited us to have significant doubts about Dr George's evidence, and we have set out his reasons for that submission above. Dr George is clearly a knowledgeable witness. He has a lengthy history of commentating on Middle Eastern matters. We do not consider it to be adverse to the weight to be attached to his evidence that he has only latterly set out the nature of the involvement he had in the past with the PLO. As he said, he was writing articles setting out the other side of the story at different times, and a person who describes himself as a freelance consultant writer and journalist must, we think, be allowed to write articles for a particular audience or with a particular slant without of necessity being accused of lacking objectivity as a consequence. It may be wise for Dr George in the future to make it clear in reports he writes that he has from time to time accepted briefs to write reports setting out only a particular point of view or articles to that effect, but also of course to make the point that he has represented the different sides of the argument and that he has of course given the undertaking to be found at the end of the first and also the second report indicating that he understands his duty to the court.
  80. We have somewhat more concern with the efforts he has made to find evidence concerning the truth or lack of it concerning the suggestions that significant numbers of Syrian Kurds were to be granted citizenship. He seems to us to have gone to a source from which the answer given could be expected. We see no reason to doubt his reasons for trusting the judgment of Dr Mella, but he is after all based in London, and no opportunity has been taken to contact anyone in the Syrian Government or indeed it seems anyone in Syria in this regard. One can imagine there might have been all sorts of logistical difficulties in contacting Mr Hajou who is described as a representative of the Kurdish Haderkin Tribe from the Al-Hasakah district who has said that a forty three member delegation representing all the Kurdish tribes in Syria had met recently with a Ba'ath party official and two other regional politicians discussing restoring citizenship to Kurds at the earliest possible opportunity; this is stated in a report dated 29 January 2006. Nevertheless, one would imagine that Dr George could have made contact with Kurds in Syria in order to obtain some indication as to the credibility or otherwise of this suggestion. We bear in mind entirely the point made by Dr George that these suggestions have been made before, and one can indeed see reference to this at page 6 of the Chatham House Report concerning a number of announcements in this regard since the Qameshli troubles in April 2004. At that time there was a suggestion that thirty thousand stateless Kurds had been granted citizenship but nothing happened. There was a further announcement in the summer of 2005 that the government was considering awarding nationality to one hundred and twenty thousand Kurds and there were reports of officials visiting Ajanib and carrying out a census in preparation of this so one can understand there might be some reason to doubt that this would go ahead. However, that does not mean one should necessarily assume that suggestions of this kind have no substance, and, as we say, we would have expected Dr George to have carried out more extensive research than he did in order to find out whether the likelihood of this had increased to any material extent. In that regard we consider that contacting his government acquaintances might have had some relevance also. Although a particular kind of answer might have been expected from them, further details might have been provided which would have enabled further sources to be contacted and perhaps further information obtained. In the end no doubt, as Dr George states, one has to wait and see what happens, but the fact that indications of this type have been given on two or three occasions in the last couple of years must be seen as being of some relevance to the situation of stateless Syrian Kurds.
  81. Bearing that caveat in mind, we consider that Dr George's evidence is in general, subject to the point we have made, consistent with the objective evidence that we have considered and is therefore deserving of weight being attached to it as a consequence.
  82. We turn to the essential issue in this case which is the question of whether stateless Syrian Kurds are treated in such a way in that country that they face a real risk of persecution or breach of their human rights. There are of course particular issues relating to this appellant, but in the light of the Adjudicator's findings and our own findings above we conclude that we can properly consider him as a stateless Syrian Kurd with no history with the regime. The issues arise under a number of headings. Firstly there is the question of marriage. As we have set out above, the appellant's evidence on this was somewhat uneven, but in the end it seemed to us that he accepted that he had a legal marriage which had been registered with a religious clerk. The marriage, as Dr George stated, is binding in Sharia law and is very much seen as a matter of a contract between the families as well as the couple. In this regard it is also in passing relevant to note that now in two generations of the appellant's family Kurdish males have married Arab women, and that, we think, must have some relevance as to how Kurds are regarded in Syria generally. If they are properly to be regarded as coming at the very low end of the scale, then we think it is surprising that Arab families would be prepared to marry their children into Kurdish families, and particularly for Arab girls to be married into Kurdish families since rights arise from the male line.
  83. As we say, the appellant's evidence was not entirely clear on this point, but we have concluded that his marriage is registered. What the implications would be if it were not are unclear. There is no suggestion that children are illegitimate as a consequence of a marriage being unregistered. The matters seems to be tied in very much with the question of citizenship. It is said that if one is not a citizen then his marriage cannot be registered and that, subject to the particular situation of the appellant, even if his marriage were not registered would seem to leave little in the way of material adverse consequence to him and his family, though the Refugees International Report states that it is sometimes difficult to obtain birth certificates for children when their parents do not have a marriage certificate.
  84. As regards ownership of land, the evidence is that a Kurd cannot own land in the sense that he cannot register it but property can be bought and registered in another person's name. However, it cannot be passed on by a Kurd to his children. They are dependent upon the goodwill of the third party to whom they can transfer it, and who, it seems may well, according to the appellant's evidence, be a solicitor. It is not without significance that the appellant said in his evidence that registering the house with a solicitor would be to guarantee a person's rights. Though therefore there may be some distinction in the ability to transfer property between Kurds and Arab Syrians, again we do not consider this to be a distinction of real significance.
  85. As regards the ability to work, the appellant worked doing private work as did his brothers. It seems from Dr George's evidence that there may be some ability outside the letter of the law for Kurds to work in low level state jobs, but there appears to be no restriction on their ability to do private work. This is a distinction between Kurds and Arabs of some greater significance in Syrian society. If the range of employment that is available to people is restricted then that is clearly of some relevance to their ability to live a normal life and enjoy the normal benefits of living in a society.
  86. As regards educational matters, Dr George's evidence was that the available education to a Kurd is relatively restricted and the Refugees International Report confirms this. This contrasts somewhat with what the appellant said. He said that he left school of his own accord when he was fourteen or fifteen although he could have stayed on for a further two years which would appear to take him to the normal school leaving age. Thereafter it would appear that higher education is restricted to exclude Kurds and indeed also to exclude others including many Arabs on the basis that it is only the wealthy classes who can afford to have their children educated to that level. But in terms of the ability to obtain a normal secondary education it would appear from the appellant's evidence that he was not restricted in any way and we see no reason to suppose that that is not equally true of other Kurds.
  87. As regards access to medical facilities, it is the case that Kurds are not allowed to make use of public healthcare but are restricted to private healthcare. The appellant did not indicate that he had experienced nor had his family experienced any problems in this regard. Indeed Dr George's evidence was that public health care in Syria is very bad and it may well be therefore that there is no particular deprivation to the Kurds in not being allowed to avail themselves of those facilities but it is again a distinction which cannot be left out of consideration.
  88. A further point is the inability to vote which is clearly deprivation of a significant civic right. The fact that the vote has little practical meaning in Syria does not materially diminish the significance of the lack of that right. The inability to do national service we regard as essentially a neutral factor. It hardly appears to be a deprivation to Kurds in not being allowed to do national service.
  89. There are other factors also including restrictions on not being able to have a passport or move around the country freely and leave the country freely. In addition, as the US Department of State report of 2004 notes, all political activities by the 11 Syrian Kurdish political parties have been banned, though it seems from the Chatham House report that as long as they remain fairly quiet and confine themselves to cultural matters, the Syrian Government is on the whole prepared to tolerate their existence. These matters are of relevance to the further issue of risk to a failed asylum seeker to which we shall come in due course. They must be taken for the moment together with the other issues we have considered above as part of the overall restrictions on Kurds in comparison to their Arab counterparts in Syria.
  90. Taking these matters together we have concluded that the deprivations experienced by Syrian Kurds are not such as to amount to persecution or breach of their human rights if returned to Syria. It is not without significance in this regard that the appellant at interview said that he had experienced no problems as a Kurd prior to the events of 2004 which were disbelieved by the Adjudicator. Clearly he would have had to put up with deprivations of the kind we have set out above but we do not consider that these materially damaged or would damage the quality of his life and nor could anything different be said with regard to the situation of any other person living as a stateless Kurd whether Ajanib or Maktoumeen in Syria.
  91. We return to the question of risk on account of being a failed asylum seeker. We have a copy of a letter from the British Embassy in Damascus dated 2 November 2004. There it is said at paragraph 3 that the fate of a failed Syrian asylum seeker if returned to Syria depends very much on their political activity before they left. It is said that the authorities are unlikely to try them on the basis of applying for asylum alone and it is also important not to assume that the Syrian authorities would automatically know that an individual had applied for asylum in the United Kingdom.
  92. In his first report at paragraph 48, Dr George quotes from a report of the Canadian section of Amnesty International of January 2004 which states that Syrian Secret Service agents working abroad may become aware of a request for asylum as their task is to monitor the Syrian community and opposition abroad. It is also said that the very fact of leaving the country to seek asylum abroad is imputed to be a manifestation of opposition to the Syrian Government. The Canadian Amnesty Report concluded that failed Syrian asylum seekers who did not have a history of opposition activities would not face arrest and maltreatment on return to Syria. Dr George did not consider that this could be taken for granted partly on the basis of the arbitrary and unpredictable nature of the Syrian security agencies and partly because any Syrian who had applied for asylum would be perceived to be an oppositionist whatever their history. He also quotes a report of September 2003 of the Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada stating that the response of the Syrian authorities to a Syrian who returns after leaving the country illegally is very much dependent upon the nature of the departure and the person's profile and background and if it becomes known that they have applied for asylum the consequences may be severe.
  93. Dr George goes on to note that most Syrians must obtain the authorities' permission before travelling abroad from Syria. Any Syrian national who departs the country illegally faces judicial consequences that may in principle result in up to three months imprisonment. If a person leaves on false documents or using a false identity the penalties are much harsher. If the seal of the Syrian state has been falsified the sentence can be increased to include seven years of hard labour. There is thought, in the Canadian Amnesty Report, to be a general risk of detention on return for an asylum seeker who left Syria in an illegal manner. There are then various examples cited by Dr George of ill-treatment of individuals forcibly returned to Syria, and other examples of this can be found in his second report from a September 2005 Amnesty International Report. This contains reference to torture being widespread in Syrian detention and investigation centres especially during pre-trial detention and during periods of incommunicado detention.
  94. We assess risk to the appellant on return on the basis first of all that he has no political history in the light of the Adjudicator's findings in this regard which were not effectively challenged. There is no evidence to indicate that the authorities would be aware that he has applied for asylum in the United Kingdom. As Mr Ouseley suggested, Dr George's views on this were essentially speculative as to the ability of the security services in Syria monitoring the activities of Syrians in the United Kingdom. In our view the evidence shows that the appellant would face no more than a risk of imprisonment potentially up to a period of three months. We do not consider that the evidence shows a real risk of ill-treatment giving rise to a breach of his protected rights on return in that regard. Accordingly we do not consider that the risk factor with regard to this aspect of his claim is such as to place him at a real risk of persecution or breach of his human rights. We see no reason to disagree with the earlier conclusions of the IAT in SY (Kurd – No Political Profile) Syria CG [2005] UKIAT 00039 to similar effect, and this decision should be understood as updating SY, therefore.
  95. Accordingly, we conclude that the appellant has not made out his claim. Although there was an error of law in the Adjudicator's determination we confirm his decision dismissing this appeal.
  96. Signed Date

    D K Allen

    Senior Immigration Judge

    Index of Country Material Considered

    (1) Refugees International: 'Buried Alive: Stateless Kurds in Syria'
    (January 2006)
    (2) Chatham House: The Syrian Kurds: A People Discovered'
    (January 2006)
    (3) British Embassy, Damascus Letter of 2 November 2004
    (4) Refugee International (USA): 'Follow Through on Commitment to Grant Citizenship to Stateless Kurds
    (10 November 2005)
    (5) Dr Alan George 1st report (2 December 2005)
        2nd report (25 February 2005)
    (6) New York Times Report of 28 April 2006
    (7) Kurdish Media Report of 29 January 2006
    (8) US State Department Country Report on Human Rights Practices 2004
    (9) Human Rights Watch Report of October 1996
    (10) Danish Immigration Service Report on Fact-Finding Mission to Syria and Lebanon
    (September 2001)
    (11) Amnesty International Report of 19 September 2005

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