First Crop of Syrian Refugees Reach Germany

Country will be taking in 5,000


The first of 5,000 Syrian refugees picked mostly from crowded camps in Lebanon have arrived on a chartered flight in Hanover, Germany. Criteria used have been questioned by church groups.

German Interior Minister Hans-Peter Friedrich welcomed 107 Syrians, half of them children, on the tarmac of Hanover's airport on Wednesday. Germany's 16 regional states agreed last March to host 5,000 civil-war refugees for two years.

Those arriving will spend two weeks at a pair of reception hostels in northern Germany before being allocated to the regional states. The most populous, North Rhine-Westphalia, is to accept 1,060, and the smallest, Bremen, some 50.