German authorities have been tipped off to the identities of over 330 war criminals from Syria and Iraq amongst ordinary asylum seekers since 2015, with many of the tips coming from other asylum seekers.
Asylum seekers have identified the war criminals, many of which came to Europe at the height of the migrant crisis, according to information from the German Federal Interior Ministry. Most of the alleged war criminals are said to be former security services agents of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad but there have also been some Islamic State fighters, Die Welt reports.
German investigators have had their hands full with cases of Islamic State fighters accused of committing atrocities in Syria and Iraq since 2014. Last month, authorities arrested a27-year-old Syrian man who was living as an asylum seeker in Baden-Württemberg. He is said to have fatally shot two men in 2014 after the terror group had deemed the men to be “blasphemers”.
In early 2016, an Islamic State commander was also found hiding out at an asylum home in a small rural village in Rhineland-Palatinate.
Later in the same year in April, another Syrian was arrested on suspected war crimes charges. The man, identified as Ibrahim Al F., was said to have been a commander of a rebel militia that worked with the Free Syrian Army (FSA) and was said to have committed war crimes during the battle for Aleppo.
German Green Party MP Franziska Brantne called for the government to crack down further on asylum seeker war criminals and alleged that some of them had even boasted about their actions on social media.
Authorities say that because of the large volume of tips and the difficulty of assessing date from war zones like those in Syria, they have only been able to look into a fraction of the reports.
The Federal Criminal Police Office (BKA) is said to be creating 10-20 new positions in order to better tackle the backlog of cases.