Colonial Legacies in Syrian Nationality Law and the Risk of Statelessness

  • Malak Benslama-Dabdoub Queen Mary University of London


The millions of Syrians born or living in exile as a result of the ongoing conflict has dramatically increased the number of people from Syria with no nationality. In this regard, Syrian nationality law has been criticised for containing discriminatory provisions and failing to address the risk of statelessness. Nonetheless, the responsibility of colonialism in creating such discrimination has been largely overlooked. One decade after the outbreak of the Syrian civil war, this article looks back at the colonial roots of Syrian legislation governing nationality. Through a critical legal and historical analysis, it reveals the hidden colonial legacies of Syrian citizenship, by highlighting the responsibility of European colonial powers in introducing gender-based discrimination in domestic legislation, rendering Kurds and Palestinians stateless, and creating the practice of arbitrary denationalisation. This paper ends with a call for more research on colonial legacies within citizenship and statelessness studies.

How to Cite
Benslama-Dabdoub, M. (2021). Colonial Legacies in Syrian Nationality Law and the Risk of Statelessness. The Statelessness & Citizenship Review, 3(1), 6-32.