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Wednesday, December 8, 2021

Opposition group begins renewing Syrian passports in Qatar

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Syria Embassy passport renewal service.
Syria Embassy passport renewal service.

 

 

Update on Feb. 2: The Peninsula has reported that the Syrian embassy has since stopped accepting passport renewal applications out of concern that the travel documents would not be accepted internationally.

The Syrian embassy in Doha, which represents officials opposed to President Bashar Al Assad, has begun renewing the passports of its nationals living in Qatar, a diplomatic spokesperson has said.

Along with enabling Syrians who are living in Qatar with expired passports to travel to other countries, the move gives additional legitimacy to the National Syrian Coalition and illustrates the ongoing financial and logistical support it has gotten from Qatar.

Nasr Abu Nabot is first secretary at the Syrian embassy.
Nasr Abu Nabot

Previously, only embassies affiliated with the Assad government could issue or renew passports to Syrians abroad, according to Nasr Abu Nabot, the first secretary at the Syrian embassy in Qatar.

He told Doha News that this presented problems for many Syrians, especially those suspected of having ties or sympathies to the opposition.

He alleged that in many cases, government diplomats in other countries would demand exorbitant processing fees or confiscate their documents outright.

“Syrians living outside Syria are suffering,” he said.

‘First step’

Syrian passport renewal sticker
Syrian passport renewal sticker

The Doha embassy, which opened in 2013 as the National Syrian Coalition’s first foreign diplomatic mission, began accepting applications yesterday.

Syrian passports are typically issued with a six-year validity and can be renewed for up to four additional years.

Notably, the embassy in Doha is not issuing new passports. It can also currently only process applications from Syrians living in Qatar, although Nabot said he hopes to widen the service to those living elsewhere in the Gulf within two months and, eventually, the broader region.

“We will be working (toward issuing passports), but are happy with this first step because it helps solve some problems for a lot of Syrians living in Qatar,” he said.

He said embassy staff had been working on this measure for some time, receiving input from international authorities on creating a fraud-resistant renewal sticker that meets global standards.

February 2012 protest against Syrian president Bashar Al Assad.
February 2012 protest against Syrian president Bashar Al Assad.

Nabot added that his colleagues closely consulted with Qatari authorities, who provided financial assistance and security equipment to detect fraudulent documents.

This country has been a major supporter of the National Syrian Coalition, providing its fighters with weapons and cash, permitting protests in Doha against the Syrian government, denouncing Assad’s government in international forums and loosening immigration rules for Syrians fleeing the country.

There are an estimated 60,000 Syrians living in Qatar.

International acceptance

Nabot said his colleagues consulted with international legal experts and were told that the 114 countries that signed a 2012 accord, recognizing the National Syrian Coalition as the legitimate representatives of the Syrian people, were obliged to also recognize the travel documents the body issues.

Syrian Embassy in Doha
Syrian Embassy in Doha

The US, Qatar, the other Gulf countries as well as Egypt, Jordan, Tunisia and Libya were among those signatories during the so-called Marrakech Conference.

Prior to accepting applications, the National Syrian Coalition notified 52 countries as well as a half-dozen international organizations of its intentions.

Nabot confirmed that Canada informed the coalition that it would not recognize the extended passports because it was not one of the signatories of the 2012 accord.

A spokesperson for Canada’s foreign minister said at the time that Syria’s opposition must reject extremism and embrace minorities before Canada will recognize its legitimacy.

Application process

Some 21 applications were received on Thursday, but Nabot said many more people came to the embassy looking for additional information.

He said Syrians should visit the embassy’s Facebook page to download a passport renewal application.

Applicants must return the completed form to the embassy in person and bring with them:

  • Their original passport, issued less than 10 years ago;
  • A photocopy of their Qatar residence permit or visitor’s visa. If it’s the latter, a photocopy of their sponsor’s residency permit is also required;
  • Three recent photographs, taken in front of a white background; and
  • A copy of their Syrian ID, birth certificate or an identification document that can act as a substitute.

The cost is QR50 for each additional year of validity. Nabot said he expected turnaround times for the new passports to be between four business days and one week.

Thoughts?

43 COMMENTS

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Yacine
Yacine
6 years ago

So far Qatar seems to be the only country taking courageous actions against the thuggish Syrian regime.

Nuremburg
Nuremburg
6 years ago
Reply to  Yacine

Yes. It is the only Gulf country offering support to Syrian refugees and to the Palestinian victims. Meanwhile, the other emirs are busy withdrawing their ambassadors or signing secret deals with the USA.

MIMH
MIMH
6 years ago
Reply to  Nuremburg

The biggest donator to the Palestinians? The USA. Go figure.

desertCard
desertCard
6 years ago
Reply to  MIMH

They seem to gloss over that.

MIMH
MIMH
6 years ago
Reply to  Yacine

By supporting radical Islamic groups? Not much of a choice for the Syrians is it. The dictator Asaad or the would be religious dictators in the opposition.

Yacine
Yacine
6 years ago
Reply to  MIMH

Qatar supported the peaceful revolution of the Syrian people and condemned the atrocious attacks of the dictator and his thugs on them. That some people come later to hijack the revolution is a different story, and is not Qatar’s fault. And Assad is the only one to blame anyway.

MIMH
MIMH
6 years ago
Reply to  Yacine

Hmmmm, the Islamic narrative for the murder of westerners and attacks on western targets is their interfence in other countries affairs. What gives Qatar the right to decided which side is best? Should Qatar now expect terrorist attacks for taking sides in a war that has nothing to do with it?

Yacine
Yacine
6 years ago
Reply to  MIMH

Yes there is the risk of terrorism but so far it has been managed. That said the Syrian Electronic Army inflicted serious damage on RasGas and other institutions in the last two years.
Now to answer your first point, Qatar’s position is not motivated by stealing Syria’s resources, or implementing a military presence in Syria, or any of the imperialist lobby-driven motives that characterize every single intervention of the U.S. and NATO. If intervention is needed, let it be from another Muslim country. Thus we Muslims solve our issues on our own 🙂

MIMH
MIMH
6 years ago
Reply to  Yacine

That so nice of Qatar, however I don’t believe their motives are selfless. Plus we had individual qataris funnelling money to Islamic radicals for their dream of a caliphate. Nice work, destabilising the Middle East.

A country can’t be muslim only the people and Syria is a mix of different religions as well as agnostics and atheists.

As for muslims solving their own problems, it hasn’t worked out so well in the last 1400 years so not much hope for the future. Only today 60 dead in a suicide attack on a Shia mosque in Pakistan. Great work.

Yacine
Yacine
6 years ago
Reply to  MIMH

Muslims have been powerful and lived in peace for at least 1100 of the 1400 years you mentioned, even though there always issues from time to time. I challenge you to give me one civilization/empire/country that has not had any issues in 14 centuries.
For Syria, we do not know how things will end. Unfortunately Qatar on its own cannot change the situation there. But Qatar will go down in history as one of the few countries that supported the people not the illegitimate rulers when the “Arab Spring” happend, whether in Tunisia, Libya, Egypt or Syria.

MIMH
MIMH
6 years ago
Reply to  Yacine

I’m not sure what period you are talking about. It can’t be now where battles rage from Nigeria to Afghanistan to Mindanao to Burma to Mali to Syria to Yemen to Libya to Algeria to I can’t be bothered to go on. It can’t be the early years when Mohd launched wars against the other arab tribes and conquered Arabia. (Not forgetting the massacres of Jewish tribes) it can’t be caliphate Omar who conquered Persia, Mesopotamia,the levant and Egypt. It can’t be the caliphates after him who expanded his conquests into the whole of north africa and parts of Afghanistan and Pakistan and then southern Spain. It can’t be during the long history of the Ottoman Empire and the ruthless crushing of not only fellow Muslims but Byzantium and Constantinople replacing Christian churches with mosques and enforcing tax on all non muslims but South Eastern Europe and the legacy of fighting between muslims and Christians that last until this day.

I don’t really have the time to list all the wars and conflicts in the last 1400 years, but if you are interested here is a summary.

http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Islam_and_war

Anonymouse
Anonymouse
6 years ago
Reply to  Yacine

Wouldn’t bet on that reading of history by a long shot; the early drafts certainly aren’t headed that way.

Guest
Guest
6 years ago

Yacine & Nuremburg!

Believe what you may, but if you are in Qatar… you are on a piece of land America/Israel allowed to exist for a reason.

Look back in history… the only “Dictators” that survived are the ones who didn’t say NO to the (amazing) America.

All i can say is we are all living in a shadow.

Protesting / Freedom of speech is not allowed, so please accept my post as a simple comment, I am NOT protesting, just talking.

Althani
Althani
6 years ago
Reply to  Guest

“you are on a piece of land America/Israel allowed to exist for a reason.”
“the (amazing) America.”

Are you high?,
You should look back in history,
America is nothing.

procan
procan
6 years ago
Reply to  Althani

If the USA military leaves Qatar, Iran owns it the next day with their Russian friends.

Saleem
Saleem
6 years ago
Reply to  procan

And if Iran and Russia “own” Qatar, then the rest of the world are forced to deal with a new global economic order, where the majority of the reserves of the most popular alternative fuel source to oil is now in the hands of some of the world’s most hostile regimes, both having already been subjected to various sanctions…but yeah, the world will just sit back and let that happen…

It sometimes helps to think before making silly statements…

Anonymouse
Anonymouse
6 years ago
Reply to  Saleem

I wouldn’t bet the farm on anyone being keen to shed blood for Qatar – plucky little Belgium it isn’t. Qatar is widely seen by many as a necessary evil, very similar to Saudi in that regard, and not much more.

Saleem
Saleem
6 years ago
Reply to  Anonymouse

Oh yes they well when the alternative is an Iran and Russia coalition. Iraq was “sold out” when it invaded Kuwait and it was on good terms with West, you think Iran and Russia can will be allowed to go around invading countries with impunity? Especially ones with strategic resources?

Anonymouse
Anonymouse
6 years ago
Reply to  Saleem

The only invasion threat that Qatar faces is from brotherly Arab states. The loss of Qatari resources would be an inconvenience, not a catastrophe – N. American and Australian sources would see to that. The press argument against defending Qatar will be along the lines of “Those people and their system are not worth shedding blood for and this is a great opportunity to destroy OPEC (if they haven’t done it to themselves by then). Why are we defending ME dictators?”.

Equally, the Iranian people are, and have long been, natural allies more than the Arab states and peoples ever have been, or are ever likely to be. Yes, the current regime is distasteful, but there is far more affinity for the Iranian man-on-the street than there is for the Arab world. The current Iranian regime won’t last forever; at which point alliances will change and Arab dictatorships will no longer be feeling the love.

Saleem
Saleem
6 years ago
Reply to  Anonymouse

USA and Australia are not ran by a monarch who can make decisions for every branch of government. The democratic system leads to all kinds of red tape issues, from the USA export licenses and now environmental concerns, Oz in developing their reserves. It’s not as simple as you make it out to be where they can just “step in” and replace other suppliers. The scenarios you share are very unrealistic, irrespective of any Western love or hate for Arabs.

Anonymouse
Anonymouse
6 years ago
Reply to  Saleem

Western hate? Interesting perspective, if grossly simplified. I’d that it is more a case of shared interest and values – it is in everyone’s interest to keep the Saudis reigned in and split the power in Persian Gulf. Yep, red tape can be an issue, still, I’d take the system above over a dictator any day – with one guy, when you get a dud, well, what do you do about it? Yes, you could pull a ’77 or’95, but coups lead to instability, which is at least as much of a problem as red tape. How many dud leaders has Qatar had since independence? 50% is my reading – and how does the system deal with losers? That is the problem that there is no easy solution for.

Saleem
Saleem
6 years ago
Reply to  Anonymouse

Wtf does your opinion about which mode of governance is better have to do with what I said?

For certain things such as exploiting natural resources, a single decision maker with broad powers can be more “efficient” in the sense that they can agree to developing an entire project in a day. They are not accountable to anyone so they don’t have to “wait” for approvals. Whether this “efficiency” entails other destructive factors for a society is not what the buyers of the commodity are concerned with, and history reveals plenty examples of exactly this.

Anonymouse
Anonymouse
6 years ago
Reply to  Saleem

If the decision maker proves to be correct. You have made a bold claim on history providing examples without providing any examples. I will wait for them before I reconsider your belief.

My opinion as to the weakness of the single-decision makers is as relevant as your opinion on so-called Western hate. Not directly related to the question at hand, but felt to be relevant as commodity buyers like stability,and dictatorships are relatively unstable.

Saleem
Saleem
6 years ago
Reply to  Anonymouse

Dude do I really need to state the obvious every time I comment? Obviously if the leader is “incorrect” this will have major negative implications, and what “Western hate” are you on about? I said regardless if the West loves or hates Arabs, it doesn’t matter, they are forced to engage with most of them commercially.

Anonymouse
Anonymouse
6 years ago
Reply to  Saleem

Wtf Dude!? Bold statements need strong evidence, all that jazz – no such thing as obvious. Particularly when dealing with anonymous interneters.

Saleem
Saleem
6 years ago
Reply to  Anonymouse

Suharto, Saddam etc., are a few of the many brutal dictators/regimes that had strong commercial dealings with the West, this is not my opinion, these are facts.

The fact that you need me to cite such historical examples to you to substantiate my earlier comments makes me realize I am wasting my time here.

Anonymouse
Anonymouse
6 years ago
Reply to  Saleem

My, you are an impatient and short-tempered one today, aren’t you? Maybe try a cup of a cup of tea, it always improves my mood. What I was looking for were examples of Gulf dictators moving quickly to close a project in a ‘day’, as you alluded to in your earlier statement. Common experience would say that this is very uncommon and that the decision making is as opaque and cumbersome as anywhere else. These gentlemen are as beholden to special interests within their society as much as anywhere else, perhaps more so.

Saleem
Saleem
6 years ago
Reply to  Anonymouse

Not “closing a project” in a day, but giving the go ahead and acquiring approvals to do a project. You don’t have to look very far, take Qatar for instance. If QP found some way of extracting more energy resources that would destroy the local environment, it doesn’t matter, with a signature and a stamp they can go ahead with project, nobody will hold QP accountable for their pollution/destruction, and they can go ahead with selling their products.

If in the USA they too could exploit such an opportunity at the expense of their environment, they would face considerable roadblocks in pursuing the path QP took because studies will need to be conducted, ensuring the method is safe, groups would be outraged at the harmful method, the media would provide extensive coverage on the issue, etc. That will prevent them from going ahead as fast as a “QP” type company where one entity decides on everything.

Anonymouse
Anonymouse
6 years ago
Reply to  Saleem

Hmmm, that is certainly an interesting perspective and gives food for thought.

Anonymouse
Anonymouse
6 years ago
Reply to  Saleem

Ummm, comparison was more Kuwait-Qatar, not Kuwait-Iraq, but okay. Countries invade with impunity all the time, Saudi faced no repercussions for its invasion of Bahrain, nor, longer ago, its seizure of Qatari territory.

Saleem
Saleem
6 years ago
Reply to  Anonymouse

You seriously going to compare border skirmishes with full scale invasions?

Anonymouse
Anonymouse
6 years ago
Reply to  Saleem

Bahrain = full scale invasion by foreigners.

procan
procan
6 years ago
Reply to  Saleem

Sorry for they late reply Saleem, we have and gas and oil on our side of the planet , loads of fresh water and food supply the envy of the world. On a personal note I like Russia, and they play hockey and our value system are similar . Our American Cousins to the south need to get over there issues in Europe and they will soon be on side. See you at the world cup 2022 in Oz.

Saleem
Saleem
6 years ago
Reply to  procan

The only way oz will host it is if oz becomes a part of Qatari territory, otherwise see you in Doha 2022.

Peace
Peace
6 years ago
Reply to  procan

Very true Saleem, some comments are really out of hatred and jealousy. Money is power and Qatar with its new generation leaders is leading their country in all international level. So why negativity all around? Let’s support the nation, it’s people as you are here to earn a living. So be grateful and understand the culture of Qatar.

Anonymouse
Anonymouse
6 years ago
Reply to  Peace

What? Please tell me what Al-Thani has done that is new and demonstrates leadership worthy of my support.

Althani
Althani
6 years ago
Reply to  procan

Okay they’re welcome.

Anonymouse
Anonymouse
6 years ago
Reply to  Althani

Well, to be frank, to say that America is ‘nothing’ is a serious understatement. I see where you might head if you wish to compare it to say India, Iran or China, but it does lead to the natural follow-on and question “If America is nothing, then what is Qatar?”.

Althani
Althani
6 years ago
Reply to  Anonymouse

No, I’m not talking about the influence it has, I’m meant in response to saying that without America, Qatar is basically nothing and that’s not true

Anonymouse
Anonymouse
6 years ago
Reply to  Althani

Oh, I’d agree with that with no problem. It’s existence is guaranteed by the Americans, but that doesn’t mean it is nothing, the do that with a lot of states.

Jules
Jules
6 years ago
Reply to  Althani

America is nothing ;P really…it only has made/and or contributed to some of the largest innovation in science, business and technology during the 20th century…it as well as the Brits have also provided the means for some countries to advance by providing the necessary technology..such as Qatar and Saudi.

MIMH
MIMH
6 years ago
Reply to  Guest

Lol. Lay off the Jack daniels….

guest
guest
6 years ago

….

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