This week, Germany made a small yet important decision regarding how it deals with Syrian migrants. Instead of deporting the migrants to the first European Union country they arrived in – as Germany was allowed to do for decades under an old E.U. regulation known as the Dublin procedure – it will now instead allow Syrians to remain in Germany and apply for asylum within the country.
The decision has huge implications for the tens of thousands of Syrians who have arrived in Germany so far this year. Germany's asylum laws are considered relatively relaxed, and many are keen to seek refuge in the country. The change will likely significantly shorten the legal limbo that even refugees with strong cases for asylum can face.
In the past few days, glorifying images of German Chancellor Angela Merkel have spread online through Syrian communities. Syrian poet Lukman Derky shared a number of images that praised Merkel, including the one below, which superimposed Merkel's face over a romantic poem.
Some images had a sardonic edge: Moustafa Jacoub, a Syrian artist who created an image of Merkel that said "wir lieben dich" or "we love you" in English and shared in on Facebook on Monday, tells WorldViews that he first created the image to ridicule similar images shared by supporters of Syrian President Bashir al-Assad. Other images also shared this ironic message.
On Twitter, some users wrote messages of thanks to Germany's Federal Office for Migration and Refugees (BAMF) after it announced the new move.
Merkel has faced widespread criticism for Germany's immigration policies. After a young Palestinian cried while talking to Merkel during a televised debate in July, the German leader's response was criticized as being insensitive. She has also faced a backlash from those opposed to immigration and was confronted with boos and jeers when she visited an asylum shelter near Dresden earlier this week.
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