Albania has indicated it would accept 75,000 Syrian refugees from the European Union, an ABC News correspondent reported on Twitter Saturday, citing local media outlets. Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama said this week the country would welcome Syrian refugees, even though many have already gone to Germany. Meanwhile, some Albanians have begun collecting donations to help Syrian refugees.
But Syrians are not alone in their search for asylum. Albanians constitute the second-largest group of people seeking asylum in Germany, trailing only Syrians.
More than 8,000 Albanians sought asylum in Germany in August alone. Germany received the same number of applications from Albanians in all of 2014, BBC News reported. Many Albanians have been seeking asylum because of dire economic conditions in their home country.
Among the 213,000 asylum applications the European Union received in the second quarter of this year, one-third came from Afghans and Syrians. Most of these asylum seekers requested to go to Germany, which received 80,900 applications during the same period.
As the Islamic State group, formerly known as either ISIL or ISIS, has gained ground in Syria amid the country’s civil war, many Syrians have attempted to escape. About 4 million have tried to leave their war-torn nation in the past four years.
Syrians initially began moving to neighboring countries in the Middle East, but recently started traveling to Europe, which has seen a massive number of Syrians seeking asylum. The influx has caused many European countries to institute stricter border controls. The refugee crisis has also emboldened smugglers. An estimated 30,000 people are suspected of smuggling Syrian refugees into various European countries, according to the European Police Office, aka Europol.