Unwanted, Syrian refugees in Cairo

Syrians were once welcomed in Egypt, but attitudes have changed. Abu Ali and his family fled Syria, and have lived in Cairo for over a year. But now they wish to leave.

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Unwanted, Syrian refugees in Cairo

According to the UNHCR, there are over 136,000 Syrians registered in Egyptian as refugees. From the 2011 revolution until the toppling of Mohamed Morsi, Syrians were welcomed in Egypt. They were given immediate entry visas with six-month residency permits, as well as access to health services and education. Since the military ousting of Morsi, it has become compulsory for Syrians to apply for visas and to go through a security clearance, before coming to the country. Hundreds of Syrians have been turned back at the border or deported. Once in Egypt, many find they are subject to discrimination, harassment and even violence.

Part of the reason for this change in attitude stems from the political situation regarding the Muslim Brotherhood. A number of Syrians aligned themselves with pro-Morsi demonstrators during and after the military overthrow. Now Syrians frequently find themselves labelled as supporters of the former president and the now-outlawed Muslim Brotherhood, and accused of organizing plots against the country. Faced with such attitudes, many Syrian refugees no longer want to stay in Egypt.

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