Record Number of Syrians Become German Citizens

Asylum seekers from Syria, Afghanistan, Iraq, Palestine, Pakistan and Morocco on their way toward Northern Macedonia rest on Oct. 11, 2022, before crossing the borders of other European countries like Germany, France and Sweden.
Nicolas Economou/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Record Number of Syrians Become German Citizens

What will their future hold?

Germany naturalized 200,100 people last year—the largest number since record keeping began in 2000. According to data published on May 28 by the Federal Statistical Office in Wiesbaden, Germany, 75,500 (38 percent) were Syrians with the average age of 24.5 years. Most were men (64 percent). These new citizens now have a host of opportunities in front of them, including joining the German military.

In the 2014–16 refugee crisis, almost 5 percent of Syria’s entire population relocated to Germany. Angela Merkel, the German chancellor at the time, boldly proclaimed, “Wir schaffen das!” (We can do this!). In reality it caused serious problems: Many Syrians refused to assimilate, didn’t learn German, burdened society, and became criminals, even terrorists.

In other cases, immigration was more successful. Thousands of Syrians found a new home in Germany, pursued education opportunities, entered the workforce, and even gained citizenship. These success stories are playing an important role in relations between Germany and Syria.

The website of the German Bundeswehr states about these Syrians:

Many have educational qualifications that are well above the Syrian average. They have often gone on to obtain even higher qualifications in Germany. It is right to speak of Syria’s “future generation.” In Berlin and Damascus, there is likely to be great interest in being able to use their strength, skills and contacts for Syria on Reconstruction Day. Some “German-Syrians” have even taken on political offices in Germany in the meantime or intend to run for seats in German parliaments. This could also lead to changing trends in Germany’s Syria policy. For the German economy, the personal contacts and close ties of many Syrians with their home country could become important door openers for new business relationships. This would give them a clear advantage over their international competitors when it comes to awarding contracts for reconstruction aid.

Germany has housed Syrian refugees with this reconstruction in mind. In 2016, the Bundeswehr, in cooperation with the Federal Employment Agency, trained Syrian refugees in civilian knowledge and skills to help the German labor market and potentially contribute to the future reconstruction of their country.

From 2012 to the end of 2022, Berlin contributed $18.5 billion to help Syria and neighboring countries. In the last two years, it has pledged an additional $2 billion. But for Syria to be reconstructed, it first needs to become safe.

Fight With Germany for Syria?

The Bundeswehr has provided many Syrian refugees educational opportunities, which has inspired some to join the military. Eihab Mastou told Südkurier that a two-day internship in an infantry unit of the Bundeswehr caused him to pursue citizenship so he could join the army.

Germany’s Bild am Sonntag reported in 2016 that 1 in 4 German soldiers had a migration background. Given that many of the Syrians who recently received a German passport are military age, this could be an attractive opportunity for them.

Around 3,000 Muslims are employed in the German military. Bernhard Felmberg, a Protestant military bishop, told Deutsche Welle: “As an increasing number of Muslims are serving in the Bundeswehr, I expressly support giving these soldiers the option of pastoral care in their religion.”

Germany’s armed forces are experiencing an acute shortage of soldiers. As Politico wrote in February: “Troop numbers have fallen to a historic low of 180,000, with some 20,000 new recruits needed just to replace those leaving each year—let alone bring numbers up to a level capable of seriously defending the country.”

Soon Germany may need many more than just 20,000 new recruits. Where will they come from?

In January, German Defense Minister Boris Pistorius sparked a debate by proposing that foreigners join the German military, which could help them gain citizenship. If Syrians are willing to fight for Germany in a foreign theater, how much more would they fight with Germany for their own country?

For years, the Bundeswehr has considered a military mission in Syria. The Bundeswehr’s website says: “One thing could be very useful to the Bundeswehr here, namely Germany’s great popularity in Syria and the ‘relative balance’ of German policy in the Middle East as a whole.”

A Common Alliance

It is a little-known fact that the racist regime of Adolf Hitler deployed over 70,000 Muslims in World War ii. Deutschlandfunk Kultur reported in 2015:

The Nazi regime now courted Muslims as allies and tried to incite them to fight against supposedly common enemies—the British Empire, the Soviet Union, America and the Jews. Racist concerns were pushed aside with astonishing pragmatism. …

German propagandists politicized the Koran and the concept of jihad in order to incite Muslims to religious violence against the Allies.

At the same time, the Wehrmacht and Waffen SS recruited tens of thousands of Muslim volunteers from 1941 onward—Bosnians, Albanians, Crimean Tatars and Muslims from the Caucasus and Central Asia.

We must consult history to understand the future, especially when history matches prophecy. Following the October 7 terrorist attack, Trumpet editor in chief Gerald Flurry noted: “[I]n World War ii, the Arab nations allied themselves with Germany. Could that happen again? Well, Bible prophecy says it could and will, and we need to watch that very closely” (Nov. 17, 2023).

In his January 2024 article “As You Watch Gaza—Watch Germany,” he added:

As recently as World War ii, the Nazi regime had varying degrees of relations with Yemen, Syria, Iraq, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia and Afghanistan, as well as Turkey. And through military conquest, the Axis powers made inroads into Libya, Egypt, Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia.

Syria has special importance to Germany today due to its strategic location and its hundreds of thousands of refugees. An end-time prophecy in Psalm 83 says Syria will ally with Assyria, modern-day Germany. This will require a change in Syria’s current allies, but signs of that coming change are evident.

Learn more in Mr. Flurry’s Key of David program “Iran Is Losing Syria to Germany.”