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Between the Ottomans and the EntenteThe First World War in the Syrian and Lebanese Diaspora, 1908-1925$
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Stacy D. Fahrenthold

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780190872137

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: March 2019

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780190872137.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 19 April 2021

Travelling Syrians, Immovable Turks

Travelling Syrians, Immovable Turks

Passport Fraud and Migrant Smuggling at the Close of Empire, 1918–1920

(p.112) 5 Travelling Syrians, Immovable Turks
Between the Ottomans and the Entente

Stacy D. Fahrenthold

Oxford University Press

This chapter investigates passport fraud and migrant smuggling between the 1918 armistice and the establishment of the French Mandate in 1920. During the war, the United States had progressively identified “Syrian” as a national origins category to exempt Arab migrants from travel restrictions imposed on other Ottoman nationals. The French consulates of the Americas expanded this nationality category by offering Syrian migrants sauf conduit (or safe conduct) passports to facilitate repatriation after 1918. These passports claimed Syrian and Lebanese migrants as French protected persons, exempting them from America’s travel ban while also claiming them as future French colonials. France used the document to bolster its own claims to Syria and Mount Lebanon as a League of Nations Mandate, but the passport also opened the door to migrant smuggling. Because US laws governing national origins remained ambiguous, smugglers turned ineligible Ottoman Kurds and Turks into “Syrians” on paper.

Keywords:   passports, migrant smuggling, repatriation, travel ban, migration restriction, Syria, Ottoman Empire, French colonialism, travel control

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