First Syrian refugees reach Germany

The 16 asylum seekers, who faced protest in Hanover, will be placed in a temporary shelter for two weeks before getting housing

Hanover: The first Syrians arrived in Germany from Istanbul yesterday under a controversial EU-Turkey migrant pact, an official from the German federal refugee office said.

A protester holds a banner reading “Please keep fleeing! There is nothing to stay here! Refugees not welcome!” as cops escort a group of refugees at Hanover airport. Pic/AFP
A protester holds a banner reading “Please keep fleeing! There is nothing to stay here! Refugees not welcome!” as cops escort a group of refugees at Hanover airport. Pic/AFP

The 16 asylum seekers flew into the northern city of Hanover and were to be taken to a shelter about 140 kilometres (90 miles) away. A second group of Syrians was to arrive in Hanover in the early afternoon, the official said.

The representative from the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees, Corinna Wicher, asked media to respect the privacy of the asylum seekers, who were members of three families.

"This is all very new, very difficult," Wicher said. "They have been travelling for a very long time." One protester also arrived to meet the group, holding a banner reading: "Please keep fleeing, refugees not welcome."

Wicher said the new arrivals would spend two weeks at the temporary shelter in the town of Friedland for orientation, including lessons in basic German and logistical practicalities, before being placed in housing around the state of Lower Saxony.

Early Monday, Greece sent back a first wave of migrants to Turkey under the deal that has run into strong criticism from rights groups.

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