March 30, 2017 / 2:47 PM / 2 years ago

Migrants accused of being part of Syrian militant group go on trial in Germany

Defendant Azad R. talks to his lawyer Armin Beck as he arrives in a courtroom in Munich, southern Germany, March 30, 2017. REUTERS/Michael Dalder

MUNICH (Reuters) - Two Syrian migrants who came to Germany as part of an influx of refugees in the summer of 2015 went on trial in Munich on Thursday accused of fighting in Syria as part of a militant group.

More than 1 million migrants have arrived in Germany over the past two years and concerns about security and integration are widespread.

Barbara Stockinger, a judge and spokeswoman for Munich’s higher regional court, said 22-year-old Azad R. and 24-year-old Kamel T.H.J. were accused of fighting near Aleppo as part of the Islamist rebel group Ahrar al-Sham between August 2013 and April 2014.

“They armed themselves with kalashnikovs and fought against other rebel groups and the Syrian military government,” she said.

Stockinger said one of the men was injured during combat and headed to Turkey for medical treatment along with the other defendant. They then traveled to Germany, where they arrived in around June 2015 before being taken into custody in April 2016.

If convicted, the men could face up to 10 years in prison.

Reporting by Reuters Television; Writing by Michelle Martin; Editing by Alison Williams

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