German police announced on Monday that the first group of Syrian refugees landed in Germany’s northern city of Hanover by plane departed from Turkey under a new deal reached between European Union and Turkey to halt human trafficking by discouraging illegal migration.
According to a spokesperson from the federal police, the first group includes 16 refugees, but many more are expected to arrive at the airport around 1015 GMT.
The arrivals came as the long awaited deal has come into effect on Monday with Turkey launching the first return of refugees from the Greek island of Lesbos to the country.
Two Turkish boats hired by EU border agency Frontex carried 131 refugees accompanied by European Union officials from Lesbos to Turkey’s western Izmir Province.
According to Frontex, the returnees are primarily from Pakistan and Bangladesh as Syrians are to be transferred at a later time.
The deal between EU and Turkey requires that Ankara will take back refugees who crossed into Europe illegally from Turkish soil. For each refugee returned, one already settled in Turkey is to be accepted into the EU.
In exchange, the EU has promised to provide Turkey with more financial aid, visa-free travel for its citizens, and to restart negotiations on EU membership.