A Syrian refugee who fled to Germany from his war-torn homeland has become the new mayor of a village just eight years after he arrived in the country.
Ryyan Alshebl, 29, is now the proud Mayor of Ostelsheim, a small town of about 2,500 people in the district of Calw in the south-western German state of Baden-Wuerttemberg, just outside Stuttgart.
Alshebl, who ran as an independent candidate with ties to the Greens, according to local media, described his experience during the election campaign, which he won with 55.41 per cent of the vote on Sunday, 2nd April, as “overwhelmingly positive”.
The young mayor, who fled his home town of As-Suwayda in southern Syria at the age of 21 to avoid being conscripted into the civil war that has been tearing the country apart since 2011, eventually ended up in the small German town.
Now a German citizen, Alshebl had reportedly been working at the town hall in the nearby town of Althengstett for seven and a half years.
But now that he has been elected Mayor of Ostelsheim, after coming out on top against two other candidates, named as Marco Strauss and Mathias Fey, Alshebl reportedly plans to move there.
German media estimated that Alshebl is most likely the first Syrian mayor in south-western Germany, with the municipal Council of Baden-Wuerttemberg saying they had not yet had any other candidates for mayor from people with Syrian roots.
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