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Last update: November 2021

According to Article 8 QD, IPA can only apply if the applicant ‘can reasonably be expected to settle’ in the proposed area of internal protection.

In applying the reasonableness test, it should be examined whether the basic needs of the applicant would be satisfied, such as food, shelter and hygiene. Additionally, due consideration has to be given to the opportunity for the person to ensure their own and their family’s subsistence and to the availability of basic healthcare. The assessment should be based on the general situation in the country and the individual circumstances of the applicant.

Figure 8. IPA: assessment of the reasonableness requirement.


General situation

The general situation in the area in consideration should be examined in light of the criteria described above, and not in comparison with standards in Europe or other areas in the country of origin.

The general circumstances prevailing in Damascus assessed in relation to the factors above entail significant hardship. However, they do not preclude the reasonableness to settle in the city as such. The person’s ability to navigate the above circumstances will mostly depend on access to financial means and in exceptional cases, the reasonableness requirement may be satisfied. The assessment should take into account the individual circumstances of the applicant.


Individual circumstances

In addition to the general situation in the area of potential IPA, the assessment whether it is reasonable for the applicant to settle in that part of the country should take into account the individual circumstances of the applicant, such as:

  • civil documentation
  • gender
  • age
  • support network
  • professional and educational background and financial means
  • ethnoreligious and linguistic background
  • state of health
  • etc.

The individual considerations could relate to certain vulnerabilities of the applicant as well as to available coping mechanisms, which would have an impact when determining to what extent it would be reasonable for the applicant to settle in a particular area. It should be noted that these factors are not absolute and they would often intersect in the case of the particular applicant, leading to different conclusions on the reasonableness of IPA.


Conclusions on reasonableness

The general conclusions on the reasonableness of IPA for particular profiles of applicants are based on an assessment of the general situation in Damascus City and the individual circumstances of such applicants, as outlined in the sections above.


For those applicants who meet the ‘safety’ and ‘travel and admittance’ requirements under Article 8(1) QD, the availability of IPA in Damascus City will depend on the assessment of the reasonableness to settle there.

Based on the general situation in the capital city, and taking into account the applicable individual circumstances, internal protection in Damascus City may be a reasonable alternative only in exceptional cases. Such exceptional cases would in particular include some adult applicants with significant financial means or who have a support network that is willing and capable of assisting them in accessing basic subsistence if they settle in the city.

In this regard, the rapidly evolving economic situation and food insecurity, as well as the impact of covid-19 on those and on the healthcare system in Damascus, should also be considered.