By June 2013, over 1.6 million people fled Syria in search of protection and access to essential services. Their legal status is primarily governed by the laws of the host country where they reside. The legal framework applicable to asylum seekers and refugees differs significantly between countries and different laws apply to different groups of people. In Lebanon for instance, the situation varies significantly between Syrians and Palestinian Refugees from Syria (PRS). As a result of this complexity, individuals fleeing Syria are often unaware of their rights and obligations.
Overall, the people fleeing Syria can be divided into 3 different groups, depending on their status in the host-country:
- Those residing in camps;
- Those who have the appropriate papers and are therefore regularly residing in a country; and
- Those who are irregular, meaning residing in a host country without the required documents.
While these 3 groups are not mutually exclusive, the level of access to services and protection differs between the different groups.