Syrian protesters expelled by UAE after visas 'cancelled'

AFP , Sunday 26 Feb 2012

Emirates expels Syrians for holding anti-regime demonstrations at their country's consulate in Dubai

Demonstrators hold flag at a protest against Syria's President Bashar al-Assad, (Photo: Reuters).

Emirati authorities have cancelled the residencies of dozens of Syrians for taking part in a protest against their regime outside the consulate in Dubai, Syrian activists told AFP on Sunday.

Two of them have already fled the Gulf country, arriving in Cairo on Saturday, after "all efforts failed to convince Emirati authorities to retract the decision," one of the activists said.

"My son can't go to Syria" for fear of being arrested there, the father of one of the protesters told AFP. "They have no mercy. They didn't even give him a warning. They just cancelled his residency right away."

The opposition activist told AFP that the UAE "authorities went ahead with the measures to cancel residencies despite promises to retract the decision."

Nearly 2,000 Syrians took part in a demonstration outside the Syrian consulate in Dubai on February 10.

The Emirati authorities recalled several dozen of them and asked them to sign a pledge not to take part in any future demonstrations.

But days later, they were summoned by the immigration authority, which took their passports and cancelled their visas.

Some were given a time limit of up to around 10 days to leave the country, while the authorities have confiscated the documents of others whose residencies have not yet been cancelled.

The Syrian Revolt Coordination Committee, a network of Syrian opposition youths who organise protests and activities in Egypt in support of the Syrian insurgency, said it would support all those expelled from the UAE.

"We have been informed of how the government of the country you live in has failed you and of its unfair decisions against you," the group said in a statement from Alexandria, Egypt's second city.

"Our leadership has decided to invite all Syrian youths living in the UAE who will be expelled to come and stay with their brothers" in Egypt.

Committee spokesman Ahmad Balouch told AFP: "We are ready to help them in any way possible."

"If they need financial aid we can work on providing this. And if all they need is to get connected to people here, we and other groups in Alexandria as well as Cairo can keep in touch with them," Ahmad Balouch told AFP.

The United Arab Emirates, which has strict conditions on demonstrations, is one of the six Gulf Cooperation Council states that decided to recall their envoys from Damascus and expel Syrian ambassadors from their countries in protest at Syria's lethal crackdown on dissent.

More than 7,600 people have been killed in violence across Syria since anti-regime protests erupted nearly one year ago, human rights groups say.

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