Citation: 2020 RLLR 124
Tribunal: Refugee Protection Division
Date of Decision: February 4, 2020
Panel: R. Bebbington
Counsel for the Claimant(s): Joo Eun Kim
RPD Number: TB7-20660
Associated RPD Number(s): TB7-20661, TB7-20662 TB7-20663, TB7-20664
ATIP Number: A-2021-01106
ATIP Pages: 000043-000047
On February 4, 2020, the Refugee Protection Division (RPD) heard the claim of [XXX], [XXX]and [XXX] who claim refugee protection under sections 96 and 97 of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (IRPA). On that same day, the panel rendered its oral SPLIT decision and Reasons for decision. This is the written version of the oral decision and Reasons that have been edited for clarity, spelling, grammar and syntax with added references to the documentary evidence and relevant case law where appropriate.
 MEMBER: Back on the record. I’ve considered your testimony in this claim and other evidence and I’m ready to render my decision orally.
 These are the reasons for the decision in the claims of [XXX] and [XXX] who claim to be citizens of Syria and are claiming refugee protection pursuant to Sections 96 and 97(1) of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act.
 I’ve appointed [XXX] as the designated representative of the minor children, [XXX] and [XXX].
 You state you’ve lived in Kuwait until 2017 when your work permit was cancelled. You have no path to citizenship in Kuwait. You allege that you are being sought by government forces in Syria.
 Your full allegations are set out in your basis of claim form narrative and its amendments.
 I note that one of the claimants [XXX] is a citizen of the United States. The board finds that the claimant has not provided any credible or trustworthy evidence to establish that he would be persecuted in the United States pursuant to Section 96 of the IRPA or be at risk pursuant to Section 97 of the IRPA.
 I find there is insufficient evidence to establish that there is more than a mere possibility of persecution in the US for the American minor claimant. The American minor claimant’s request for refugee protection is rejected.
 I find on balance that the remaining claimants would be subjected personally to a risk to their lives or a risk of cruel and unusual treatment or punishment should they return to Syria for the following reasons.
 I find that your identities other than that for the US born claimant, as nationals of Syria is established by your testimony and supporting documentation filed including your passports, a series of Syrian country documents as well as documents pertaining to Kuwait.
 I find you to be credible witnesses and therefore believe what you have alleged in support of your claim. You testified in a straightforward manner; there were no relative inconsistencies in your testimony or contradictions between your testimony and the other evidence before me which have not been satisfactorily explained.
 When a claimant swears to the truth of certain allegations this creates a presumption that those allegations are true unless there’s a reason to doubt their truthfulness, this is found in Federal Court case law in Maldonado.
OBJECTIVE BASIS OF FUTURE RISK:
 The Situation of Sunni’s in Syria.
 The Assad family has ruled Syria since former president Hafez Al-Assad seized power in Ba’athist coup in 1970 his son Bashar Al-Assad, became president in 2000 following the death of his father.
 The Assad’s hail from the Alawis’ an off shoot of Shia Islam that represents approximately thirteen percent of Syria’s population. Along their rise to power the Assad family placed loyal Alawis’ in key positions throughout the government including in the security intelligence and military sectors.
 Both Assad regimes spent decades forging strategic ties with prominent Sunni Muslim families and religious authorities in order to consolidate their hold on political and economic power.
 This fragile balance of religious ethnic and ideological identities persisted for decades until it finally collapsed in early 2011 as mass uprisings proliferated throughout.
 Despite the largely non-violent nature of the anti regime demonstrations that spread across the country beginning in March of that year, the Assad government responded with a violent crackdown that represented peaceful movement, while allowing armed rebel factions to dominate the uprisings as the situation deadly devolved into a full-scale civil war later that year.
 The Syrian conflict has been described by a number of sources as having evolved to a largely sectarian conflict.
 As a consequence of the complex sectarian dynamics of the countries ongoing civil war more than five hundred thousand people have died and more than twelve million people have been displaced.
 Sunni Muslims while they constitute the large majority of the population in Syria are reported as being disproportionately targeted by the government and its allied militias that are largely viewing religious affiliation as a proxy for political beliefs and assume that most Sunni’s support, supported the opposition to its rule.
 There were continued reports of war waged by the Alawis’ dominated government against the opposition forces and terrorist groups resulted in significant casualties among the majority Sunni population.
 The government continued its widespread and systematic use of unlawful killings including the repeated use of chemical weapons and forced disappearances, torture and arbitrary detention to punish perceived opponents including civilians the majority of whom were Sunni Muslims.
 Sources report that the government and its allies have killed, arrested and physically abused members of the Sunni Muslim community and have seized property of those who fled with the explicit intention of permanently displacing these individuals and change in the religious demography of these areas by populating the areas with Shia and Alwaite’s residents.
 Media and academic experts said the government continued to portray the armed resistance and sectarian terms saying the opposition protestors and fighters were associated with extreme Islamic factions and terrorists seeking to eliminate the country’s religious minority groups and its secular approach to governance.
 There is little indication in the evidence at the disposal of the panel that the situation has markedly improved since the production of these reports.
 Based on the credibility of your allegations, the documentary evidence as I’ve set out above I find you have established a future risk that you will be subjected to harm.
 The panel is of the opinion that in light of the above described situation presently prevailing in Syria, the Syrian state can be described as being in a state approaching complete breakdown. Consequently, the presumption to the effect that the state is capable of protecting its citizens does not apply in the present case.
 Hence in that content given the fact that the state is in some cases the agent of persecution the panel concludes there is clear and convincing evidence the claimants would not be able to obtain adequate protection if they would be in danger in Syria.
 I find that it would be objectively unreasonable for the claimants to seek the protection of the state in light of your particular circumstances.
INTERNAL FLIGHT ALTERNATIVE:
 I have considered whether a viable internal flight alternative exists for you. Given the fact that the principal claimant’ s fear of persecution is based in his credible testimony, that he is being sought by the Syrian authorities aside from his identity as a Sunni Muslim, a consideration for an IFA in all zones under the control of the Syrian state is not relevant to the present case as it can be assumed that the claimant and his family would face persecution in all of these areas.
 Moreover, the panel is of the opinion that it would not be viable in the present circumstances given the profile of the claimants to establish themselves in areas under the control of non-state actors.
 On the evidence before me, I find it is not objectively reasonable in all the circumstances including those particular you for you to seek refuge in Syria for the reasons I have described.
 In conclusion, based on the analysis above, I conclude that you are persons in need of protection and accordingly I accept your claims.
 Thank you. You will receive a copy of my decision in the next few weeks so it will be transcribed, it will come back to my desk and I’ll sign off on it. I will put in any applicable references, correct any of my grammatical errors and it will then be provided to you.
———- REASONS CONCLUDED ———-
 Immigration and Refugee Protection Act, S.C. 2001, c. 27 as amended, sections 96 and 97(1).
 Exhibit 2, Basis of Claim (BOC) Form (TB7-20660), received September 6, 2017; Exhibit 7, BOC Amendment, received November 22, 2017; Exhibit 12, BOC Amendment, received January 27, 2020.
 Exhibit 13, Claimants’ Personal Supporting Documents, received January 27, 2020.
 Maldonado v. Canada (Minister of Employment and Immigration),  2 F.C. 302 (C.A.); 31 N.R. 34 (F.C.A.); Gill v. Canada (MCI), 2004 FC 1498; Orelien v. Canada (Minister of Employment and Immigration)  1 F.C. 592 (C.A.); (1991), 15 Imm. L.R. (2d) 1 (F.C.A.).
 Exhibit 3, National Documentation Package (NDP) for Syria, (September 30, 2019), Item 12.1.
 Ibid., Item 12.8.
 Ibid., Item 12.1.
 Canada (Attorney General) v. Ward,  2 S.C.R. 689, 103 D.L.R. (4th) 1, 20 Imm. L.R. (2d) 85.