15:00 GMT +322 January 2020
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    German Chancellor Angela Merkel expects that many refugees will go back to their home countries once peace has returned to Syria and Iraq, according to German media reports on Saturday.

    MOSCOW (Sputnik) — Over a million of asylum seekers arrived in Germany last year. Many of them fled hostilities and poverty in North Africa and the Middle East, specifically the nearly-five-year-long war in Syria.

    "We expect that once peace has returned to Syria and Islamic State has been defeated in Iraq – that you will also go back home with the knowledge you have acquired here," Merkel said at her party’s meeting in the northeastern town of Neubrandenburg.

    Merkel pointed to the Geneva refugee convention that, she said, set the initial period during which a host country is required to give refugees protection at three years. The chancellor cited Germany’s experience with Yugoslavian refugees, most of whom returned to their homeland after Yugoslav Wars ended.

    Merkel’s government has been under pressure over its open-door policy toward refugees after a series of sexual assaults on women by asylum seekers hit German cities on New Year’s Eve.


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