News / Middle East

Syrian Refugee Resettlement Program in Germany Begins

A Syrian refugee shows her immigration papers before boarding a flight to Germany for temporary relocation, at Rafik Hariri International Airport in Beirut, Lebanon, Sept. 11, 2013.
A Syrian refugee shows her immigration papers before boarding a flight to Germany for temporary relocation, at Rafik Hariri International Airport in Beirut, Lebanon, Sept. 11, 2013.
VOA News
The U.N. refugee agency (UNHCR) says an initial group of vulnerable Syrian refugees is leaving Lebanon for a new life in Germany.

The UNHCR said the 107 Syrians were due to fly to the German city of Hanover on Wednesday. It said they will be granted temporary asylum in the country under a special Humanitarian Admissions Program.

Resettlement program begins

Germany notified the U.N. refugee agency in March that it was prepared to receive up to 5,000 Syrian refugees on a temporary basis this year. The UNHCR said the German relocation program is the biggest of its kind for refugees from the Syria civil war.

UNHCR spokeswoman Melissa Fleming said that after the refugees arrive in Germany, they will stay in an accommodation center for two weeks. There, they will be given cultural orientation courses to help them integrate into their new surroundings. Those courses include basic language training and information on Germany.

After that, Fleming said the refugees will leave for their new homes in different parts of the country.

"They will be accommodated in small centers or apartments and will have full access to medical, educational, and other social services. They also have the right to work. This is a scheme under which they will receive residence permits for a period of two years. Should the situation continue unchanged or worse in Syria, then this could be extended," she said.

Map showing Syrian refugee populations.Map showing Syrian refugee populations.
x
Map showing Syrian refugee populations.
Map showing Syrian refugee populations.
Fleming said Austria also has committed to taking 500 Syrian refugees for resettlement this year, while 10 other Western countries have pledged more than 1,650 resettlement places. She said the United States also has indicated that it might be willing to accept an unspecified number of refugees.

Fleming said the UNHCR aims to resettle 10,000 Syrian refugees under this temporary humanitarian program by the end of the year and to find 2,000 additional permanent places of resettlement for Syrians in acute need.

She acknowledged that the numbers are small considering the magnitude of the Syrian refugee crisis. But, she called it a start.  

The UNHCR estimates that more than two million Syrians have fled their war-torn country. It believes that figure could reach three-and-a-half million by the end of this year.  Four neighboring countries - Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq, and Turkey - are hosting most of the refugees.

Under pressure in Egypt

Several hundred thousand Syrians also have moved to Egypt as a refuge.
 
One of them, Wael Mustafa, arrived in Cairo last year. Within months, he had found work, a place to live and could support his extended family. But, two months after Mustafa last talked to VOA, Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi, a strong supporter of Syria's opposition, was ousted from power by Egypt's military. And everything changed.
 
"After Morsi [was toppled], I saw some Egyptian people look at us like we are not good people, we are bad people," Mustafa said.
 
Under Morsi, Egypt welcomed Syrian refugees as historic allies who backed a popular uprising much like the 2011 revolt that ousted his authoritarian predecessor, Hosni Mubarak. But, those Syrians have faced a backlash since Egypt's military-backed government began cracking down on Morsi's Muslim Brotherhood movement.
 
Activist Haitham Maleh, of the National Coalition of Syrian Revolution and Opposition Forces, said hundreds of Syrians in Egypt have been arrested by police or beaten in the streets, while others have been deported. Egyptian state media, he said, have just made things worse.
 
"Some media spoke in a very bad way against us. Some media say we are like Muslim Brotherhood - something terrorist. They think Free Syrian Army rebels are terrorists,"  said Maleh.
 
The Egyptian government also has adopted stringent new visa rules, making it harder for Syrians to find refuge in the country.
 
"Syrian people [previously] came to Egypt and their families would follow them.  Now, [they] cannot, and [they] stay in Lebanon or Turkey or Syria. And some Syrian people go back to Syria."

Refugee crisis worries Lebanese

In Lebanon, the biggest regional host of Syrian refugees, the push toward a diplomatic solution over Syria's chemical weapons has produced mixed reactions.

Some Lebanese are relieved that the United States is reconsidering a Syria military strike that they fear would expand the Syrian civil war and refugee crisis. But, others criticized the delay in U.S. military action as the equivalent of offering support to the Syrian government.

Lebanese banker Nader Mashnouk, speaking to VOA as took a cigarette break in a Beirut shopping mall, said he is glad that Washington has delayed plans to attack Syria.

"Basically I'm more relieved. I feel safer. But I can't say for sure that I'm 100 percent safe because you never know what might happen," he said.

But, the head of a charity that provides free education to Syrian refugee children in Beirut said the only way to prevent President Assad from using chemical weapons against the Syrian people is to remove him from power.

Mohammad Khair al-Ghabani, chairman of Ibdaat, said the U.S. delay for diplomacy is a "conspiracy against the Syrian people" and that as the world waits, people are dying and the refugee crisis is growing.

Kamel Wazne, director of the Center for American Strategic Studies in Beirut, said a Western attack on the Syrian government would be offering de facto Western support to rebel groups, which include Islamist factions like al-Qaida.  
 
If the United States is going to enter a war, he said, it should know which side it wants to win.
 
"They could be fighting a war and not even know who they are fighting. Then they shouldn't be in the war in the first place, because in war you have to have an objective," said Wazne. "Who's going to come next? Who's going to lead the country? How is the country going to be run?"

Reporting by Lisa Schlein in Geneva, Elizabeth Arrott in Cairo and Heather Murdock in Beirut.

  • This citizen journalism image provided by Edlib News Network shows anti-Syrian regime protesters hold a poster depicting U.S. President Barack Obama during a demonstration in Kafr Nabil, Idlib province, Sept. 20, 2013.
  • Children sit along a damaged street filled with debris in the besieged area of Homs, Sept. 19, 2013.
  • Debris is seen on the ground after what activists said was shelling by forces loyal to Syria's President Bashar al-Assad in the al-Myassar neighborhood of Aleppo, Sept. 19, 2013.
  • An injured man walks along a street after what activists said was shelling by forces loyal to Syria's President Bashar al-Assad in the al-Myassar neighborhood of Aleppo, Sept. 19, 2013.
  • This citizen journalism image provided by The Syrian Revolution against Bashar Assad shows a Syrian military tank on fire during clashes with Free Syrian army fighters in Joubar, a suburb of Damascus, Sept. 18, 2013.
  • A member of the Shohadaa Badr Brigade, which operates under the Free Syrian Army, stands in shooting position behind sandbags in Ashrafieh, Aleppo, September 17, 2013.
  • Free Syrian Army fighters walk through rubble inside the old city of Aleppo, Sept. 16, 2013.
  • A Free Syrian Army fighter carries his weapon as he stands on rubble of damaged buildings in al-Aseela neighborhood near Aleppo's historic citadel, Sept. 13, 2013.
  • In this citizen journalism image provided by the United media office of Arbeen, a Syrian protester chants slogans during a demonstration in Arbeen, a suburb of Damascus, Sept. 13, 2013.

You May Like

South Korea Divided on Response to North’s Cyber Attack

In past five years, officials in Seoul have accused Pyongyang of hacking into banks, government websites, causing chaos and inflicting millions of dollars in damages More

Video Calm Amid Fear in Daily Life in S. Sudan’s Bentiu

Residents have been trying to regain some sense of normalcy, but planning for the future remains uncertain as fear of attacks looms More

2015 Could Be Watershed for Syria Conflict

Republican control of US Senate in January could lead to more aggressive policy against IS militants in Syria - and against regime of Bashar al-Assad More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: will from: dallas
September 12, 2013 5:43 PM
Well its a great humanitarian effort.
That said, I think Europe is setting itself up for
turmoil and violence by settling more people from this region of the earth with its bitter sectarian religious rivalries and fundamentalism
in their midst.
The people have a mind set from the Middle Ages and are going to continue to be a great challenge to help. Overall, a positive for these people and a negative also.


by: Anonymous
September 11, 2013 8:49 PM
Good to see! The world needs to help these poor people, but better yet, unplug the source of this mess, bashar al assad must be arrested for his crimes and must be forced to stop and drop everything. The world must step in this is costing the world millions and is a terrible situation Syrian people are in. Assad has been destroying the country for 2.5yrs. and needs to be removed at all costs. His crimes should definately be served justice as well.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Ugandan Doctors Aid Victims of Sudan's Civil Wari
X
Adam Bailes
December 22, 2014 3:45 PM
In Sudan's state of South Kordofan, the number of amputees as result of civil war is in the thousands, but few have access to sufficient medical help. Adam Bailes recently visited the area and says a small team of Ugandan doctors has been providing remote help, producing new prosthetic limbs for those in need.
Video

Video Ugandan Doctors Aid Victims of Sudan's Civil War

In Sudan's state of South Kordofan, the number of amputees as result of civil war is in the thousands, but few have access to sufficient medical help. Adam Bailes recently visited the area and says a small team of Ugandan doctors has been providing remote help, producing new prosthetic limbs for those in need.
Video

Video Jane Monheit Christmas Special

Chanteuse Jane Monheit sings the holiday classic “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas,” and explains why it’s her favorite song of the season.
Video

Video Calm Amid Fear in Daily Life in S. Sudan’s Town of Bentiu

Six months ago, Bentiu was a ghost town. The capital of northern Unity State, near South Sudan’s important oil fields, had changed hands several times in fighting between government forces and rebels. Calm returned in November and since then, residents of Bentiu have been trying to regain some sense of normalcy. Bentiu’s market has reopened there are plans to start school again. But fears of new attacks hang heavy, as Benno Muchler reports from Bentiu.
Video

Video US Business Groups Press for Greater Access to Cuba

President Barack Obama's decision to do all he can to ease restrictions on U.S. trade, travel and financial activities with Cuba has drawn criticism from some conservatives and Republicans. People who bring tourists to the island and farmers who want to sell more food to Cuba, however, think they can do a lot more business with Cuba. VOA's Jim Randle reports.
Video

Video Three Cities Bid for Future Obama Presidential Library

President Barack Obama still has two years left in his term in office, but the effort to establish his post-presidential library is already underway. The bid for the Obama Presidential Library is down to four locations in three states -- New York, Hawaii, and Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, each of them played an important part in the president’s life before he reached the White House.
Video

Video Fears of More Political Gridlock in 2015

2014 proved to be a difficult year politically for President Barack Obama and a very good year for the U.S. Republican Party. Republican gains in the November midterm elections gave them control of the Senate and House of Representatives for the next two years -- setting the stage for more confrontation and gridlock in the final two years of the Obama presidency. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone has a preview from Washington.
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. VOA reporter Ayaz Gul visited the devastated school and attended the funeral of the principal who courageously tried to save her students from the deadly attack.

All About America

AppleAndroid