From L-R, Syrian family Shadin, Ghufran, Mohamed and Maya al-Khalaf pose for a photograph near their apartment in Wecker, Luxembourg, January 19, 2017. REUTERS/Yves Herman
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When Mohammad al-Khalaf escaped from Syria and won asylum in Luxembourg last year, his wife and children stayed behind in Raqqa, the hub of Daesh's (ISIS') so-called caliphate.First, Luxembourg officials said, they must see the family's passports and a document, certified by President Bashar Assad's administration, to prove Khalaf's wife Ghufran did not have a criminal record.Six years into Syria's war, tens of thousands of Syrian families trying to be reunited in Europe have seen requests stalled for want of documents that European governments need from the Assad government.In Germany, which has received more Syrian asylum-seekers than any other European country, around 26,000 Syrian applications for family reunifications are not ready for a decision because of missing documents, Berlin says.There is no solid data on how many asylum-seekers still want to be reunified in Europe, but increasingly, Syrians are given "subsidiary protection" rather than refugee status. This often limits or eliminates their right to bring in family.Even those who are eligible often have problems getting papers. A normal Syrian passport cost 4,800 Syrian pounds ($9), said the friend, lawyer Malek al-Wardi.The Commission also said states should take into account evidence other than documents.Syrians in Europe who win permission to bring in family members can obtain special papers allowing people in.
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