Eurostat has released figures revealing that just 28 per cent of asylum claimants in the European Union, plus Norway and Switzerland, are from Syria.
The Sun newspaper reports that 334,800 out of 1.2 million asylum seekers in 2016 were from Syria, with hundreds of thousands coming from countries such as Pakistan, Nigeria, and Albania.
The numbers may surprise some members of the public, given the heavy emphasis placed on migrants “fleeing war-torn Syria” by much of the Left-leaning media and politicians.
The true figure may be even lower, with European authorities having struggled to identify migrants posing as Syrians fraudulently for years.
At 1.2 million, total asylum claims for 2016 fell only 92,000 short of their previous record high in 2015, despite the conclusion of a 6 billion euro deal with Turkey to contain the flow of migrants through that country – a deal which is now being threatened by the Islamist government in Ankara.
Sixty per cent of all asylum claims (722,265) were made in Germany, where the government declared there was “no limit” on the number of migrants it would accept in 2015, but has taken a seemingly harder line in advance of this year’s federal elections.
The UK took the sixth-highest number of asylum seekers for the year, at 38,290.
SOURCE: Pew Research Center
Greece saw a stunning 339 per cent increase in asylum claims, with arrivals from Turkey finding it harder to proceed to other European countries after Hungary led the way on strong border controls, reducing its own claims total by 84 per cent.
Better border controls have also drastically reduced entry via Bulgaria, where civilian volunteers patrol the Turkish frontier and turn back illegal migrants, and via the lesser known Arctic route, where thousands used to cross to Scandinavia via Russia.
Over a million asylum applications were still being reviewed by national authorities as 2016 drew to a close.