I am shocked — shocked! — to learn that Syrian officials in Germany are willing to hand out Syrian passports to anyone who can afford the extra fee. I hope the German and Syrian governments will round up the usual suspects as soon as possible.
Many thanks to JLH for translating this article from FOCUS Online:
Become a Syrian for €530
The Syrian Embassy is Said to Have Issued False Passports for an Extra Payment
January 27, 2017
Employees of the Syrian embassy in Berlin are said to have issued Syrian passports for an extra payment of €150, without confirming the identity of the applicant. And that is how people without the appropriate citizenship can get a Syrian passport.
More than 4.8 million Syrians have fled their homeland. It is not unusual during the dangerous trip to lose a passport, have it stolen or confiscated by the smugglers. Syrians can acquire a new passport at their embassy in Germany. But the applicant’s identity is supposed to be carefully confirmed. Embassy employees are said to have skipped this step — for an extra fee.
The embassy is supposed to have frequently given out passport to persons who had come to Germany and claimed to be Syrian refugees, reports the Berliner Zeitung. Syrians often have a better chance than other nationals to achieve asylum in Germany because of the civil war.
Office of Berlin Attorney General Investigates
A non-Syrian could obtain a genuine Syrian passport for an added fee of €150 above the customary fee of €380, according to the newspaper’s sources in the Berlin Attorney Generalship. This authority has now opened an investigation.
The federal police and the interior ministry had previously received indications of this from foreign authorities in North Rhine-Westphalia. Independently of one another, several persons are said to have confirmed that Syrian diplomatic representatives had, in some cases, not confirmed the Syrian citizenship of applicants.
It is Unclear How Many False Syrian Identification Credentials Are in Circulation
How many passports have been given out in this manner and who has them is not clear as yet. The attorney general’s office has not yet commented on the case.
A statement from the Syrian embassy, available in the Berliner Zeitung, declares: “The embassy of the Syrian Arabic Republic takes very seriously its task of representing all Syrian citizens. The embassy operates in accordance with structured rules and regulations and endeavors to satisfy the needs of all Syrians, without distinction and discrimination.”
Photo (not shown): A refugee shows his Syrian passport