UK Home Office backs down on Syrian asylum-seeker's case

In December, the Home Office sent a rejection letter to a Syrian asylum-seeker, saying it was safe for him to return. That would have been first case of its kind in the UK. Now, authorities appear to have backtracked.

The case concerns a 25-year-old Syrian man who came to the UK in May 2020. He reportedly evaded forced conscription into the army in 2017 to avoid being forced to kill fellow Syrians.

The man, who has not been named for his protection, has said returning to Syria would put his life in danger. He would be targeted as a draft dodger, arrested and possibly killed, he said.

In its rejection letter to the man, reported by The Guardian newspaper, the Home Office said he could safely return to Syria. "I am not satisfied to a reasonable degree of likelihood that you have a well-founded fear of persecution," the Home Office wrote, according to The Guardian.

In what appears to be a U-turn, the Home Office tweeted on Tuesday that "under the current circumstances we are not returning people to Syria. The UK government agrees with the UN judgement that Syria remains unsafe for them."