Immigration authority says the pro-regime Syrian who found a platform in the far-right anti-immigrant AfD is not under threat of persecution.

The German immigration authority has cancelled the asylum status of Kevork Almassian, a Syrian of Armenian origin employed by the far-right AfD party, according to German media. Known as a propagandist and active supporter of the Syrian regime, Almassian’s case came under scrutiny after a media investigation and campaign by Syrians in 2019, for a review of his asylum case. 

German daily Die Welt reported on Friday that the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees (BAMF) withdrew Almassian’s protection status because he was not under threat of persecution. Hundreds of thousands of Syrians have sought asylum in Germany for protection against bombings, attacks, and threats by the Assad regime.

German asylum policy states that persons who are “subject to a serious human rights violation should they return to their country of origin are entitled to asylum and deemed to have been persecuted on political grounds...without having an alternative of refuge within the country of origin or other possibility of protection against persecution.”

Almassian has openly stated that he moved to Europe for economic reasons, could return to Syria, and does not have a threat to his life from the Assad regime. 

Syrians were "angry that an Assad fan is granted refugee status, can work and travel and speaks of naturalization, while some victims of the Assad regime's torture are not recognized in court," German lawyer Nahal Osman, who was part of a campaign urging the BAMF to examine Almassian’s files for indications that his protection status was not justified told T-Online in November.

Far-right “mouthpiece” for Assad

Almassian has been employed by the German neo-Nazi AfD party since his arrival in Germany in 2015. He has stated that he chose Germany because “the system and the way of life…suited” him, but a T-Online investigation suggests that he chose to move to Germany because of ties to the AfD through politician Markus Frohnmaier, going back to at least 2013. Almassian reportedly lives near Frohnmaier, and seeks his help. 

The AfD is known for its hostile stance against Muslims, refugees, immigrants--and Syrians in particular.  The party has repeatedly called for the “repatriation” of refugees in Germany to Syria, which they claim is a “safe country of origin,” despite the dozens of investigations and reports by international human rights organisations, academics, the UN, and independent research organisations whose work and investigations show “systematic war crimes” committed by the Syrian regime.

Almassian’s position against his countrymen is no different. Vocal in his loyalty to Bashar al-Assad, and his “radical hate” for the Syrian revolution, DW reported that he has participated in several AfD conferences and called refugees “a weapon of mass destruction”. T-Online states that he paints the majority of refugees as “Islamists” who won’t integrate into German society, and warned of a “massacre at a train station” unless the state changes its immigration policy.

He currently runs a Syria news and analysis website aligned with Assad, which he claims is an “alternative” to the “biased media coverage” of Syria. He has received “prize money” from a shadowy pro-Assad lobby organization, which awards “uncompromised integrity in journalism.”

Meanwhile, Almassian is known for falsely portraying human rights violations of the Syrian dictatorship, among other things. For instance, he claimed that Hamza al Khateeb, a 13-year-old child who was detained, tortured, and killed by regime security forces, whose body was found with “cuts, gashes, deep burns and bullet wounds that would probably have injured but not killed...[with his] jaw and kneecaps... shattered...and his penis chopped off” was actually a "jihadi" that was looking for “sex slaves”.

Almassian is originally from the Syrian city of Aleppo. He started his studies at the private Al Kalamoon University in Syria, before moving to Lebanon in 2010 to continue his studies. He previously worked for a media organization close to Hezbollah in Lebanon. 

Source: TRT World