Migration Media Award: First Place, Print Category English
Authors: Sally Hayden, Ziad Ghandour
Media: The Irish Times, Ireland
Date of Publication: 2 December, 2017
Title: Road to Damascus: the Syrian Refugees Who Want to Go Home
Short summary: This 4,600-word investigation was carried out over four months last year in a collaboration between an Irish journalist and Syrian refugee journalist who met in Calais in 2015. It revealed a growing phenomenon of Syrian refugees are choosing to return home from Europe, because of issues around family reunification, their legal status and problems fitting in to their host countries. The lack of legal options for return means many refugees are again paying smugglers to take routes back through Greece and Turkey. The smugglers lie about the route and put them at risk of violence by the police or abuse when they return home. This story also revealed a growing trade in European documents, particularly in Sudan. Through rare access and reporting in Syria, it also included an interview with a man who returned to government-held Syria from Europe, only to be arrested, detained, tortured and forced to fight on the front lines against ISIS.
Link to original publication
Reverse migration – efforts by Syrian refugees in Europe to return home – is a growing movement. But those who want to go face legal, practical and financial blocks, and many who make it back face torture and conscription. In a major investigation The Irish Times travels to Germany, Sudan and Syria to meet those looking for a way back.
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