GERMANY

Syrian Asylum Seekers In Germany Stand By Angela Merkel

Syrians are coming out in firm support of the German Chancellor who welcomed them into the country

GERMANY
German Chancellor Angela Merkel. — REUTERS
Feb 02, 2016 at 9:55 AM ET

Syrian refugees and asylum seekers are coming out in firm support of German Chancellor Angela Merkel as she faces a swell of criticism at home over her stance on immigration.

A recent poll showed that almost 40 percent of Germans believe Merkel should step down because of how she has handled the refugee crisis: allowing 1.1 million migrants to enter the country last year alone. The poll, which surveyed more than 2,000 Germans, was conducted for Focus news magazine by Insa, an independent opinion research institute, the AFP reported.

More Refugees Fear Rising Anti-Muslim Backlash In Europe

After the poll’s findings were released on Friday, hundreds of members of Facebook groups popular among Syrian asylum seekers posted messages expressing gratitude toward Merkel, Vocativ’s deep web analysts discovered. “Thank you Angela Merkel, you opened the door for the Syrian people when the Arabs and the rest of the world did not,” Ayad Ayad, a Syrian asylum seeker, wrote in a Facebook group called The Syrian House in Germany. “You are great, Merkel,” another Syrian, Duha Waez, wrote. “God will bless you.”

A day after the poll came out, Merkel said she expects Syrians to return home once their country’s conflict is over—perceived by some as sign of a liberal policy reversal. But even that didn’t significantly effect how she was viewed by Syrian asylum seekers posting online. “What Merkel said is perfectly fine and it is very natural,” Muhammad Hatib, a Syrian asylum seeker in Munich, wrote in response to Merkel’s remark. “There is so much pressure on her. I’m sure it is just lip service.”

Translation: “Because of the refugees, Merkel loses her public support. Merkel, you can be sure that we, the Syrian people, will not forget how you stood by us.”

Germany has been among the primary—and prized—destinations for migrants and asylum seekers who have made a treacherous and trying journey across the Mediterranean Sea, often moving from Turkey to Greece and onward to western Europe.