What do young Syrian refugees in Germany think about their home country? Would they ever consider returning if the war ended? InfoMigrants spoke to some youths who fled to Germany several years ago.
Some young Syrians living in Germany can only remember scenes of devastation and destruction when they recall their childhood in Syria.
For others, the only thing they still remember is how joyful their lives were before the war started.
InfoMigrants spoke to several young Syrians about their views.
The impossible return
"Despite the distance, Syria always remains in my heart, but I am not thinking of going back -- except for visiting my family once the situation gets better, but settling there is difficult," explained Aya, a 17-year-old refugee who is pursuing her studies in Germany. She came to Germany with her family in 2014 after what she described was a very difficult journey. Aya hopes the conditions in her country get better as soon as possible.
Similarly, 14-year-old Ghaith says: "I don't think of returning to Syria. I would like to stay here in Germany forever."
When asked why, the child responds, "I can't remember the war or the conditions in which we we lived. I came here as a young child with my family, but I heard a lot about it and saw everything on television." For Ghaith, it is obvious that life in Germany is much better than it is in his country Syria.
Rama, 17 years old, replies in a sad voice, "I belong there, Syria is my nation and my country. I plan on visiting my homeland after the situation changes, but I don't think at all about living and settling there."
Iman, with her family, managed to settle in Germany when she was 14 years old. She declares her love for her country, but "when I think about the future, a return to Syria is not among my plans."
'A very reasonable response'
Commenting on the views of young Syrian refugees on returning back home, migration expert Karim Alwasiti from the Refugee Council in the state of Lower Saxony says that the refusal of displaced children and youth to return to Syria is "very reasonable and logical".
He says that children don't see any prospects for improvement in their country in the future. Rather, they have "found a new homeland" after coming to Germany during a very difficult and important period in their lives.
Although returning is out of the question for many young Syrians, many have a strong desire to contribute to the reconstruction of their homeland, which has been devastated and destroyed over a period of ten years.
Aya dreams of becoming an architect, and considers that she will not hesitate if her country needs her after the current circumstances change, highlighting that she is ready "to visit Syria for help, then return to the country in which I had the opportunity to settle in safety, Germany."
As for Rama, she thinks that help in the reconstruction of her country could be achieved through associations or charitable projects, without returning there. She said, "I'll never think of changing my current country of residence or going to another place, especially after my integration into German society."
Iman, who is studying dentistry in Germany and intends to ensure a good future, says: "I hope I can contribute from here without going back to Syria, because I do not want to return to a country in which my family, my neighbors and my house have disappeared".
Ghaith, who also doesn't think of going back, says: "Here, my family have found the help they needed. After graduation, I also want to work and help those who need me here, in Germany."
To immigration expert Karim AlWasseti, "the reconstruction of Syria is the responsibility of the international community, which has failed to resolve the conflict and stop the crisis and also to aid the refugees who have been forcibly displaced." He's of the opinion that "the neighbouring countries were left to suffer the tragedy on their own, such as Lebanon, where refugees live below the poverty line."
'The New Shelter'
According to a new report by "Save the Children", titled "Anywhere but Syria," on the effects of displacement on Syrian children, a large number of young Syrian refugees said they struggle with discrimination and access to education inside Syria and across Jordan, Lebanon, Turkey and the Netherlands.
The youths InfoMigrants spoke to in Germany said they felt like they had managed to settle in their new country. Aya said that "(I)n Germany, I have made new achievements and a good future. For me, being here is an opportunity for a new and better life." Education was the most important step, she said, which became much easier with time after she overcame the language barrier.
As for Iman, she mentioned that the Syrians faced many problems such as bureaucracy, but she considers that "after moving between many countries on her family’s trip to search for a new home, they finally found what a shelter in Germany".
Ghaith concluded by saying, "I feel safe with my family in Germany, the future here is much better. Here I have the possibility to achieve everything I want without fearing and overthinking." "After I settled and integrated with my friends here, I don't want this to be taken from me again," he added.