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Internal protection alternative

Last update: February 2023

In order to determine that internal protection alternative (IPA) is available in a particular part of the applicant’s country of origin, three cumulative criteria have to be met: ‘safety’, ‘travel and admittance’ and ‘reasonableness to settle’. For the purposes of this document, the analysis focuses on the possibility of applying IPA with regard to Damascus City - the capital and the most important economic centre in Syria.

The conclusions from the assessment of the three criteria are outlined below.


The requirement of safety may be satisfied in Damascus City, depending on the profile and the individual circumstances of the applicant.

For those who have a well-founded fear of persecution by the GoS and/or by society at large, IPA in Damascus will generally not meet the criterion of safety.

Read more in the common analysis

Travel and admittance

For those applicants who meet the ‘safety’ criterion, the assessment of the availability of IPA in Damascus City should proceed with an assessment of the requirements of safety and legality of travel and of gaining admittance. The profile and individual circumstances of the applicant should be taken into account in this regard. For individuals who would return to Syria without identity documents or without security clearance or status settlement in place prior to traveling, these requirements would not be satisfied.

Read more in the common analysis

Reasonableness to settle

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 deteriorating economic situation, the healthcare 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.

Read more in the common analysis