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Syrian Refugee Elected Mayor of a Village in Germany

Ryyan Alshebl, 29, was recently elected mayor of Ostelsheim, a village of 2,500 people in Baden-Württemberg, Germany.

He ran as an independent and won the election with 55.4% of the votes. A result that, just a few years ago, was unthinkable for 29-year-old Ryyan Alshebl. His story is that he fled the war in Syria, his country of origin.

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A sign of tolerance and openness

In 2015, Ryyan Alshebl left, arriving in Lesbos like tens of thousands of other migrants in a dinghy, then stopping in Germany. Now he is mayor of the village of Ostelsheim, population 2,500, in Baden-Württemberg.


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As reported by the media ZDF, the newly elected mayor described his campaign experience as “extremely positive”, saying that the village of “Ostelsheim has given a sign of tolerance and openness to the whole of Germany”.

A journey through Lebanon, Turkey and Greece

Fleeing the civil war, Alshebl left his hometown of As-Suwayda in southern Syria at the age of 21 to reach the Greek island of Lesbos via Lebanon and Turkey.

Upon arrival in Germany, he learned German and, after a few steps, moved to Althengstett, a few kilometers from Ostelsheim, also obtaining a German passport, where, after an internship, he worked for seven years in administrative functions, before running for local elections.

Published on 12 April 2023