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Decisions 20802/25.9.2018 and 20898/26.9.2018 of the 9th Independent Appeals Committee (administrative body, second instance)

Publisher Greece: Administrative Court (First Instance) of Athens
Publication Date 25 September 2018
Cite as Decisions 20802/25.9.2018 and 20898/26.9.2018 of the 9th Independent Appeals Committee (administrative body, second instance) , Greece: Administrative Court (First Instance) of Athens, 25 September 2018, available at:,GRC_ACA,5bc8c2a64.html [accessed 19 May 2023]
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The 9th Independent Appeals Committee, issued recently two decisions (20802/25.9.2018 and 20898/26.9.2018)  concerning two families of Syrian nationals originating from AfrinSyria. Case 20802 concerns a family comprised by the two parents and 3 children while case 20898 a family comprised by the two parents and their 4 children. Both decisions present similarities regarding the applicants' claims and are identical in what concerns the reasoning. 

In both cases the applicants (the parents) were invited to a hearing by the Committee. The hearing was realized through teleconference (as all the applicants remain in Samos).

The applicants claimed that they had left Syria for Turkey in the end of 2013 (case 20802) and in 2015 (case 20898) and entered Greece in 2018. During their stay in Turkey they had employment and they had identity cards issued (kimlik). They had not applied for international protection in Turkey.

The Committee after taking under consideration the situation in Syria and the current state of the armed conflict, the situation of Syrians of Kurdish origin, the operation of the Turkish armed forces in Afrin in the beginning of 2018 and the situation in the city at the time of the drafting of the decisions, accepted as credible the claims of the applicants regarding their personal details, origin, former residence is Syria (Afrin), their situation in Turkey and proceeded with the ruling on the admissibility of the cases.

Regarding admissibility, the Committee examined the cases under provisions on the concept of the "safe third country" (art. 56 L. 4375/2016, transposing art. 38 of the Asylum Procedures Directive, recast). More specifically, the Committee, after referring to the content of art. 56, proceeded with the examination of the criterion of the existence of a connection of the applicant with the third country. In this regard, the Committee took under consideration that Turkey has under de facto occupation the place of former residence of the applicants (the city of Afrin), that Turkey in essence "forms the future" of Afrin and determines the developments. In that sense the applicants, if their application was to be found inadmissible, would have to return to the country (Turkey) which is creating (along with others) their needs for international protection. In the present situation, even though conditions for the existence of a connection with Turkey exist (duration of stay and existence of relationships in Turkey) the link with that country seems to have been broken. According to the Committee, a forced return of the applicants to Turkey would be against the Geneva Convention and to the European aquis on asylum.

Based on the above, the Committee concluded that, since the cumulative fulfillment of all criteria of art. 56 L. 4375/2016 is needed for the "safe third country" concept to apply, and since one of them (the requirement for a "connection") is not satisfied, then the examination of the rest criteria is not necessary. Consequently the Committee declared the applications for international protection admissible and proceeded to the examination of the merits of the cases.

Regarding the merits, the Committee, in both cases, found that the applicants have a well-founded fear of persecution as, because of their ethnic origin (Kurds), they could be characterized as supporters of the Kurdish forces, and that the agent of possible persecution would be the Turkish armed forces and Arab Sunni rebels. Consequently the Committee recognized the applicants as refugees. 

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