A confidential Foreign Ministry report obtained by German media says that it is unsafe to send people back to Syria, citing persisting violence and human rights abuses in the war-torn Arab country.
According to the 28-page classified document seen by Süddeutsche Zeitung, RedaktionsNetzwerk Deutschland, and broadcasters NDR and WDR, "in no part of Syria is there comprehensive, long-term and reliable protection for persecuted people."
The document also cites, among other things, alleged “documented cases” of people, including women and children, “detained and tortured for activities of other family members whom the regime considers to be hostile."
The report will likely be discussed when Germany's state interior ministers meet later this month to re-examine the freeze on repatriating Syrians.
In recent days, the ministers of Bavaria and Saxony have called for Syrians who have committed crimes or are seen as a terrorist threat to be sent back.
Saxony-Anhalt's interior minister, on the other hand, argues that the moratorium should be extended to the end of June. Federal Interior Minister Horst Seehofer, who has also backed the idea of deporting criminals, appealed for a careful assessment of the situation.
In 2012, all German states agreed to suspend the deportation of Syrian refugees due to escalating violence in their home country. The suspension has since been extended by an annual vote.
Even though the United Nations says fighting in Syria has recently eased, it still warns that no country should send refugees back against their will.
Not Really Victims of War
According to Wolfram Goel, editor of the Bayernkurier, the Christian Social Union party newspaper, many of the refugees and asylum seekers from Syria and Iraq are not really victims of the war, but offenders.
“They say that they have been murderers or torturers in Syria or Iraq in favour of IS [Daesh] or other groups – reason for which they expect cruel revenge at home. Many are ordinary criminals,” Goel told Sputnik.
Just two examples: On 13 October, 2018, a group of seven Syrians and a German man raped an 18-year-old girl in Freiburg. Also in Freiburg, a Syrian man raped and killed a 19-year-old woman and threw her body into a nearby creek, in October 2016.
Wolfram Goel also said that now that a greater part of Syria is not experiencing war anymore and the terrorists are mainly defeated, “normal” people could return and help rebuild their country.
Another problem is that many so-called “Syrians” are not really Syrians but come from other Arab countries like Morocco, Algeria and so on.
“They bought Syrian passports because the Germans in 2015/16 accepted Syrians without asking too many questions. The riots, thefts and sexual harassment of New Year’s Eve 2015/16 in Cologne – many of these things were done by North Africans,” Wolfram Goel noted.
Interior Ministers of the conservative CDU and CSU are strongly in favour of getting rid of criminal Syrians, which means sending them back to Syria.
Chancellor Angela Merkel's CDU/CSU bloc is currently represented by nine state ministers, while the centre-left SPD, which opposes restarting deportations, is represented by seven.
The 7-year conflict in Syria has killed more than 360,000 people and displaced millions. Of the 18 million people living in Syria, some 13 million are in need of assistance, with about 5.6 million in need of emergency help, the Foreign Ministry's report said.
The views expressed by Wolfram Goel in this article are entirely his own and do not necessarily reflect the official position of Sputnik.