Belarus Airline Bans Syrian, Iraqi, Yemeni Passengers as EU Migrant Crisis Sanctions Loom

A Syrian refugee woman holds Syrian passports as she queues to apply for immigration outside the German Embassy on the northern outskirts of Beirut, on September 10, 2015. Lebanon, with a population of just four million, is hosting more than 1.1 million Syrian refugees. AFP PHOTO / JOSEPH EID (Photo …
JOSEPH EID/AFP via Getty Images

Belarusian state-owned airline Belavia has announced it will no longer accept Iraqi, Syrian, or Yemeni nationals aboard flights to Belarus after the European Union threatened the airline with sanctions.

Belavia released a statement on its website on Friday indicating that citizens of Iraqi, Syria, and Yemen would no longer be allowed aboard their aircraft after a request had been made by aviation authorities in Turkey.

“According to the decision of the competent authorities of Turkey please note that starting from 12th November 2021 the citizens of Iraq, Syria, Yemen will be denied boarding the flights from Turkey to Belarus,” the airline said.

Turkey’s Civil Aviation General Directorate (SHGM) stated Friday that all citizens from the three countries would not be allowed to buy any airline tickets from Turkey to Belarus, which includes Turkish Airlines, who have also been accused of ferrying migrants to Minsk, from where they move to the EU border and try to break in — an accusation the airline rejects.

Tensions on the EU-Belarus border further increased this week as Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko threatened to cut off gas supplies to the European Union and the bloc mulled additional sanctions against the regime in Minsk.

“We are heating Europe, and they are threatening to close the border,” Lukashenko said earlier this week.

“What if we cut off gas to them? Therefore I recommend that the leaders of Poland, Lithuania, and the other headless people think before speaking. We should not stop at anything to defend our sovereignty and independence,” he said.

Outgoing German Chancellor Angela Merkel appealed to Russia’s President Vladimir Putin to pressure Belarus to stop the border crisis this week as some, including Poland’s Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki, claim Putin has a hand in the crisis.

“The instrumentalisation of migrants against the European Union by the Belarusian regime is inhumane and completely unacceptable,” Chancellor Merkel told the Russian leader, according to a German government spokesman.

Follow Chris Tomlinson on Twitter at @TomlinsonCJ or email at ctomlinson(at)


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