The status of Syrians seeking asylum in Germany will not change, the government says. There had been fears that Syrians would have their claims rejected following a review of the security situation which the authorities kept secret.
The German Federal Office for Migration and Refugees (BAMF) "will not be changing the guiding principles that underpin decision-making until new developments in the country of origin of Syria are identified," the interior minister, Horst Seehofer, said.
"We are observing the situation in Syria and will react accordingly in terms of asylum policy," Seehofer told the Funke media group on Wednesday.
Refugee groups had feared that asylum applicants from Syria would have their claims rejected after BAMF conducted a review of the security situation in the country in March, the results of which were not made public.
A German Foreign Office report last year found that in no part of Syria was there "extensive, long-term and dependable protection for persecuted people." In November, German politicians agreed that there should be no deportations to Syria until at least the end of June 2019.
The decision not to change the policy was welcomed by the Catholic charity Caritas. "It would be utterly unacceptable to think that return to Syria is possible," Caritas' president, Peter Neher, said. "Germany must continue to stand by its humanitarian responsibility towards vulnerable refugees."
Syrians still largest group seeking asylum
Although fighting has ended in many regions of Syria, a large number of Syrians are still seeking protection in Germany. According to BAMF, 13,634 Syrians applied for asylum from January to April this year, meaning they remain the largest group seeking asylum in Germany.
Around 5.6 million people have fled the conflict in Syria since the start of civil war in 2001. Many more are displaced within the country.