Germany confirmed Tuesday it had decided to let all asylum seekers from Syria stay in the country, flouting an E.U. rule. The move recognizes that almost all Syrians are refugees, and could lead other European nations to open their doors.
Flüchtlinge montage DPA
This summer Berliners were appalled by images of thousands of people waiting for days in torrid summer heat outside the capital’s asylum registration offices. Families with children and babies, many from Syria, were left without food or water, batting wasps and standing for hours in the sweltering heat. Soon media reports prompted a small army of volunteers to turn up to help, bearing food, clothing and other donations.
Yet, despite the generous outpouring from the public, Germany’s authorities are struggling to cope with the massive influx of refugees this year. Last week, the interior ministry announced that the country was expecting 800,000 refugees in total this year, almost four times the number in 2014. And many of those arriving are from war-torn Syria.
Between January and July, Germany registered 44,417 applications from the country, which has seen over four million people flee the horrors of the brutal civil war that began in March 2011.
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