Germany to tighten checks on Syrian asylum applicants

31st December 2015, Comments 0 comments

Germany will reinstate individual interviews for Syrian asylum seekers from Friday, the interior ministry said, essentially tightening an official procedure that had been relaxed for citizens of the war-torn country.

In a bid to swiftly process a million migrants who have arrived in Germany this year alone, Berlin had earlier simplified the asylum seeking procedure for those from war-torn countries like Syria and Iraq.

But the government subsequently decided to reverse the decision due to security concerns, although it had until now not said when the individual interviews would begin again.

Confirming a report in Bild newspaper Thursday, a spokeswoman from the Interior Ministry said that the procedure would be reinstated from January 1, 2016.

During the interviews, officials would seek to determine the asylum applicant's identity, country of origin, education as well as whether his or her claim for refuge was plausible.

German newspaper Welt am Sonntag, citing Western intelligence sources, reported this month that the Islamic State organisation may have stolen "tens of thousands" of blank passports in Syria, Iraq and Libya that it could use to smuggle its fighters into Europe.

In a separate report, Bild said about a dozen migrants may have entered Germany on forged Syrian passports like those used by two suicide bombers in the November 13 Paris attacks claimed by the IS group.

© 2015 AFP

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