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As US Posits War as Only Option, Sweden Offers Residency to All Syrian Refugees

Granting of permanent asylum signals no end in sight to humanitarian nightmare in Syria; US pushes for war that would fuel, not alleviate, refugee crisis

Sarah Lazare, staff writer

All asylum seekers from Syria will be granted permanent residency permits, the Swedish Migration Board announced Tuesday, making it the first European Union country to take this step as the humanitarian crisis continues to engulf Syria.

The move strikes a marked contrast with US policy as President Obama, along with a bipartisan team of war hawks, builds the case for a US-led military intervention that would deepen Syria's refugee crisis. 

Over 2 million people have already been externally displaced from Syria by violence, while nearly 5 million have been internally displaced.

"If we really want to help the Syrian people perhaps we should spend the billions we plan to spend for military action on helping the refugees," Heather Parton writes at her Hullabaloo blog. "After all, whether we bomb Syria or not, it looks as though they aren't going to be going home any time soon. If we want to 'do something' there is definitely something to do besides hurl explosives."

Sweden's ruling, which affects all Syrian refugees who have applied for asylum and have been granted temporary residency, will allow at least 8,000 people to attain the permanent status, as well as bring their families to the country.

While the move was praised as a humanitarian alternative to proposed US military attacks, which critics charge serve the narrow interests of US politicians at the expense of the Syrian people, it also signaled that Swedish government officials do not believe the human tragedies ravaging the country will let up anytime soon.

"All Syrian asylum seekers who apply for asylum in Sweden will get it," said Migration Board spokesperson Annie Hoernblad, the International Business Times reports. "The agency made this decision now because it believes the violence in Syria will not end in the near future."


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