The State Secretary for Immigration and Asylum, Theo Francken (New Flemish Aliance), has revealed that seven Syrian fighters have been banned from entering Belgium.
They had permission to live here prior to this ruling. This is the first time the government has done something like this, the Sudpresse papers, Het Laaste Nieuws, and De Morgen revealed on Thursday. The fighters concerned – 6 men and a woman – will be banned from entering Belgium and the Schengen area for 10 years.
The fighters don’t have Belgian nationality, but live here legally. It is thought they are in Syria at the moment, not Belgium. “I can’t ban them for more than 10 years, but in my opinion this ban should be permanent. I will talk to the government about it. These people should not be allowed to enter Belgium or Europe”, said Theo Francken.
Those concerned will be able to appeal the decision. But the royal decree says they can be forcibly deported if need be, in the interests of national security.