German Interior Minister Horst Seehofer has ruled out ending a moratorium on deporting Syrians, including those whose asylum applications are denied or those who commit crimes in Germany.
Seehofer told Der Spiegel magazine on Friday that the decision was made after publication of a Foreign Ministry report detailing dismal conditions in the war-torn country.
"At the moment, deportations cannot take place to any region in Syria," Seehofer told the magazine. "That also applies to criminals."
The move by Seehofer, the head of Bavaria's Christian Social Union, contradicts Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, a front-runner in the race to replace German Chancellor Angela Merkel as leader of the Christian Democratic Union (CDU), the larger sister party to the CSU.