Didier Reynders concerned about the humanitarian consequences of recent developments in Syria

Today, Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Didier Reynders met with the Director-General of the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) Antonio Vitorino.

Deputy Prime Minister Reynders and DG Vitorino expressed their shared concern about the recent developments in Syria and the consequences for the citizens on the ground as well as the further destabilisation in the region. The fear is the events will lead to additional internally displaced persons (IDPs) in Syria. The affected population has been under severe pressure for a long time and were internally displaced on several occasions already. Concern was also expressed about the risk of increased migratory pressure on Turkey and Europe.

The meeting also mentioned the problematic situation of the imprisoned war criminals or Syrian fighters in the camps guarded by Kurdish troops.

In addition, the migratory movements in Libya and the Sahel region require our continued attention. Vitorino mentioned the escalation of violence in Libya and the difficult conditions in the detention centres. Deputy Prime Minister Reynders and DG Vitorino also shared concerns about the deterioration of the security situation in the wider Sahel region.

The IOM was founded in 1951 and has been linked to the United Nations since 2016. It provides important work on migration management at global level and advocates for humane and orderly migration by providing services and advice to governments and migrants. Belgium contributes approximately nine million euros a year to the work of IOM.