Sputnik discussed this with Dr. Christian Blex, an AfD state parliamentarian who visited Syria earlier this month.
Sputnik: What is your impression of the situation in Syria on the ground? How much does it correspond to what is being reported?
Dr Christian Blex: It was different from what we were expecting, related to the German media, because on German media you only see destroyed buildings and they always talk about the fighting. The few combat zones which still exist in Syria. My first impression when we entered Syria was that I was quite surprised to see an advertisement for a television and mobile phones, the situation was quite normal. Entering Damascus I was thinking about what city I was entering at the moment; it was like a Western, Spanish city more or less, it was very different from what I had expected.
Sputnik: Have you been able to achieve what you were looking to achieve with regard to this trip, have the management and the expectations been fulfilled? What were the results of the meetings with the Syrian officials? Are you happy with those meetings? Do you think you can move forward with returning some of these refugees now?
Dr Christian Blex: We wanted to see hospitals, we wanted to see educational organizations, schools, universities. We asked to speak with religious representatives, and everything we asked for got fulfilled, I can say one thing to the Syrian officials that they have fulfilled all our requests and we managed to do everything we wanted to do. The Syrian officials, quite surprisingly, said that they want back their refugees in Syria; they need them to rebuild the country.
Sputnik: What are the figures then, how many refugees is the German government looking to repatriate back to Syria, what numbers can you give us?
Sputnik: What's the next step with regard to this? Obviously you've got a strategy to undertake investigations into what life is like on the ground in Syria. You've done your investigation, now you're going to report back to the German government and the retrospective agencies, what are your hopes now?
Dr Christian Blex: We got publicity, German media spotted the scandal that German politicians are visiting Syria and that was just our first goal. We succeeded in it; the German media here are beginning to at least talk about Syria, and we had a press conference full of German media and we didn't do what they expected to do, they tried to fool us and we didn't let them fool us. They tried to hide our result in the German media, but on social media, where we have quite a lot of success, we wanted to show pictures of real life in Syria, to show that the religious representatives want the people back. So we achieved what we wanted to, to open the discussion.
Sputnik: Can you give us an overview of how acute the situation is on the ground within Germany, are things beginning to settle down, or are there still a lot of challenges remaining in terms of bringing all the refugees and Muslims into the actual culture of Germany and the fabric of your country, is enough being done to tackle this issue?
Dr Christian Blex: That's a big problem here, if you invite a lot of young men to your country, to decivilize your country. The vast majority of the so-called refugees are young men who have neither the will nor prospect of integrating in our society. Lots of them are simply welfare cheats and there have been quite a lot of aggressive acts towards Germans, especially women and the German government. Mrs Merkel, who enabled this massive influx of people from abroad, is in complete denial about the consequences of her own decisions and people are getting upset because of it.
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