Exit – Reentry visa for Iraqis in Syria
My sister has a problem , four times a year her husband hauls her and their children to Iraq. The trip to the Rabiaa border crossing ( different from the Tanef border ) is harrowing and expensive so why do they go through with it ?
Map courtesy of the Telegraph news.
Because after 3 months their visa expires and it is easier to go to the border get their passport stamped and re-enter Syria then apply for residence status if you do not have a job contract.
Syria has probably the best immigration laws for visitors so it is not mistreating the Iraqis – all Arabs enter without a visa in Syria,they only need to make their stay legal after 3 months.
Since the US invasion in 2003, Syria has absorbed hundreds of thousands of Iraqi refugees. Their presence has affected the Syrian economy in that real estate prices have risen extensively and this has negatively affected the buying capacity of the Syrian citizen, even though many industries have grown to cater to the large Iraqi community we have here.
Syrian hospitality is legendary and you would expect the Iraqi military ( or whatever you can call them now – no offense meant ) to be hepful to their own people at the border crossings by stamping routinely the passport of Iraqis . Nope it does not happen this way, the new recruits are mostly people who have not made enough money from kickbacks yet and they also have to follow the orders of the American military who are the real boss there on that border. According to the 'boss' the Iraqi has to stay 24hrs in Iraq before stamping his passport and letting him leave Iraq. The trip is so expensive and when you have a whole family with wife and kids where in no man’s land can you stay ? It’s even worse if your wife is Syrian because now apparently she needs a visa to enter Iraq ( was not needed before ), while the Iraqis still do not need a visa. So my sister stays on the Syrian border while her husband and children stand on the other side of the border with their dad waiting either for an Iraqi soldier to have the guts to make a decision in his own country and stand up to the occupation or for the occupation boss to feel sorry for the kids amassing and crying to around their dads and needing to be changed into clean diapers or fed or whatever. I’m telling this adds so much to the peaceful image. These people stay at the border because they cannot afford to travel to Baghdad which is about 5 hours more and very very dangerous . It is enough that they had to go trough the grueling journey of the Syrian desert where the bus does not do bathroom stops or any stops because of ‘highwaymen’. Another alternative to shorten the journey is to take a plane to Kamishli and then drive to Rabiaa border point from there.
Thank you America for making not only Iraqis’ lives harder but also Syrian wives lives. I appreciate that you are thinking of your own security and trying to prevent terrorists and wannabe jihadis but you should have done that 3 years ago not now when those people know how to dodge you.
Update : now I hear that all his family want to come to Syria because the security situation is simply unbearable in Iraq.
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