01:58 GMT +312 December 2019
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    In this May 21, 2016 picture police and refugees stand near a refugee shelter in Bielefeld, Germany

    Asylum Seeker Arrivals in Germany Fell to 280,000 in 2016 – Interior Ministry

    © AP Photo / Christian Mathiesen/dpa
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    Some 280,000 refugees came to Germany last year, only a third of the 890,000 arrivals it saw a year before, the German Interior Ministry said Wednesday.

    MOSCOW (Sputnik) Statistics provided by the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees (BAMF) indicate that the agency is dealing with a huge backlog of asylum applications.

    The BAMF registered 745,545 formal asylum requests last year – 268,869 more than in 2015 – as many immigrants who arrived in 2015 applied only in 2016.

    "The BAMF is over the worst now and is working with strong tail wind: it now takes notably more decisions as new applications come in and the backlog is clearing," Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere said.

    The official figures show that around 36 percent of asylum seekers were Syrians, followed by 17 percent from Afghanistan and some 13 percent from Iraq.

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