Migration and appropriation of space: the case of Syrians in Khartoum

Dear all,

We are very pleased to announce CEDEJ Khartoum next Seminar, April 9, 3pm, at CEDEJ Khartoum:

Mathieu ROBAIN

“Migration and appropriation of space: the case of Syrians in Khartoum”

 CEDEJ Khartoum

Monday 9th of April

3:00 pm


Since the rise of the rebellion against Bashar el Assad in 2011, Syrian people have become one of  the most important refugees population in the world. These displaced people within Syria are fleeing to borders countries or Europe at a growing pace, hoping for a better life and at the same time hopeful for the end of the conflict. Sudans policy towards the Syrian refugees is very unique as it is one of the few countries to welcome them without restrictions. The friendly policies of the Sudanese government include not needing a visa, and being capable of opening shops and restaurants, which is extremely difficult for other refugees populations living within Khartoum. Because of this open policy the number of Syrians seeking refuge in Sudan is evermore increasing since 2013-2014 (the current estimate of the Syrian population is between 100 000 and 200 000 people according respectively to the government and the UNHCR). The fact they are not considered as refugees but as « brothers and sisters » involves many issues about the way they anchor to the space and organize social life, very different from others countries both arabic and western where they’re very often cooped up in camps or judged undesirable.

This research project hinges around the stories of Syrian people mostly located in Khartoum, the capital city, and especially in Riyad and Kafuri. It considers the migration not only as a movement from one country to another, but also as a way of dealing with the host society. It focuses on the spatial and social dynamism the Syrians add to these neighborhoods. As well as the representation they have within Sudan, the places where they live and work, and how they interact with each other and the host society. It leads to ask the question the denominations we give to the « Syrian people » in Khartoum  (are we talking about a community ? a diaspora ? a simple group ?).


Mathieu Robain is a Master 1 student in Geography at the Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne. He is affiliated to CEDEJ Khartoum and his research is included in the program « Arabité, Islamité, Soudanité » (« Being Arab, Muslim and Sudanese ») financed by the Francophone University Agency (and coordinated by prof. Barbara Casciarri)

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