The right-wing Alternative for Germany (AfD) party is calling for the repatriation of half a million Syrian refugees living in Germany, saying the imminent defeat of Islamic State makes the Arab country safe to return to. The party will be tabling a motion to this effect in the parliament next week, German media reports.
Last month, the US-backed Kurdish forces captured the Syrian city of Raqqa, the capital of the Islamic State. With Islamic State losing most of its territory, President Trump’s promise to “utterly destroy ISIS” appears to be close to realization. While the Islamist ideology remains a threat to the civilized world, the Islamic State caliphate that had managed to seize a large swath of territory in Syria and Iraq under President Obama’s watch, has lost 90 percent of that ground since President Trump took office.
With the imminent collapse of the Islamic State, AfD party argues, Germany is under no obligation to give refuge to Syrian migrants, and they must all return home. The party posted a brief statement on social media explaining its position:
In an interview given the newspaper DIE WELT, the party leader Alice Weidel explained the demand of the [AfD’s] parliamentary group urging the government to negotiate with Syria for the return of refugees.
“The aim of our motion is to raise the matter so that negotiations and preparations for the repatriation can take place. The asylum rights and other protections are only meant to be extended for a certain period. That period of necessity for asylum and protection is coming to an end in Syria,” Weidel said.
The above-mentioned AfD motion will be tabled in the upcoming session of the Bundestag that takes place next week. [Translation by the author]
Far from repatriating the Syrian refugees, Chancellor Merkel – yet to conclude her coalition negotiations – is pushing for a ‘compassionate’ family reunion policy that will allow Syrian asylum seekers to bring their families to Germany.
Earlier this year, the AfD party ran on the campaign promise to fight Chancellor Merkel’s ‘refugee’ policy, winning 13 percent of the vote and becoming the third-largest party in the parliament.
Considering the fact that the AfD party hold just 92 votes of the 700-odd Bundestag seats, its upcoming parliamentary motion calling for the repatriation of Syrian refugees is most likely to fail. By challenging Chancellor Merkel’s migrant policy on the floor of the parliament, however, the party might have an opportunity to ignite a long-overdue national debate that the media and the political elite have been working to suppress.