Germany's state interior ministers have agreed not to send rejected asylum seekers back to Syria for at least another six months, saying the country is still too dangerous. But they plan to lift some restrictions on deportation in the longer term.
The German interior ministers decided this week to extend a general ban on deportations to Syria until at least June 30, 2020. The foreign ministry has determined that the civil war in the country continues to pose a threat to life and safety for civilians. If that assessment remains unchanged, the ban is expected to continue for a further six months to the end of the year.
From next June, the interior ministers will consider whether Syrians who have committed serious offences in Germany should be excluded from the moratorium.
According to the German foreign ministry, no region of Syria is currently safe for return. "Returnees, in particular -- but not exclusively -- those known to be opposed to or critical of the regime, or are simply suspected of this, face renewed expulsion, sanctions or repression, as well as a threat to their life and safety," according to a recent foreign ministry document, dpa reports.
Syrians make up the largest group of asylum seekers to arrive in Germany since 2013. As of the end of 2018, there were 745,645 Syrians in the country, according to the German office of statistics. 551,830 of those were asylum seekers, of whom a large majority (95%) had received protection. In the first ten months of 2019, 33,230 people from Syria applied for asylum in Germany for the first time.