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From Refugee to Mayor - Ryyan Alshebl

March 29, 2024

In 2015 Ryyan Alshebl fled Syria. Now, he’s the mayor of a German village. When he arrived in his adoptive home after a dramatic escape, he didn’t speak a word of German. How did he make this remarkable transition?


Syrian national Ryyan Alshebl was elected mayor of the southern German village of Ostelsheim in early April 2023, at the age of 29. The appointment sparked great international interest. He says he was approached for interviews by more than 100 media outlets, including the BBC. Alshebl fled Syria in 2015 to avoid military service. Once in Germany, he began to learn the language, trained as an administrative assistant and took German citizenship. After working for seven years at the town hall in the neighboring village of Althengstett, he decided to run for the post of Mayor of Ostelsheim - and won the election with an absolute majority of 55.41 per cent. The documentary tells the story of Alshebl’s escape from Syria and his political success in Germany.

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Exciting stories, a wide variety of topics, fascinating pictures: every day, half or three-quarters of an hour of carefully researched background reports from the worlds of politics, business, science, culture, nature, history, lifestyle and sport.