Stockholm (AINA) -- The number of Assyrians in Sweden is expected to rise as a result of the war in Syria. The municipality of Södertälje, 30 Kilometers south of Stockholm, reports the arrival of 3-5 families each week. This number is expected to because Södertälje has a large Assyrian community, which attracts new arrivals to settle down among friends and relatives.
Fearing this development, local authorities have held talks with the Assyrian Federation of Sweden to try to find ways to help newcomers to settle in other towns.
"We understand the concerns of the authorities and will do what we can to persuade our people to settle in other areas with Assyrian communities," says Afram Yakoub, chairman of the Assyrian Federation of Sweden. "Södertälje has welcomed many immigrants in the past and it would be better for the newcomers as well to go to other places as job opportunities might be better and social services less strained there.
Recent developments in Syria leads many Assyrians to believe they are going to face a situation similar to the one during the war in Iraq, where their numbers have dwindled. Just like in previous years in Iraq, Assyrians in Syria are experiencing a surge in threats, kidnappings and murders.
Of the nearly 100,000 Assyrians in Sweden, 25,000 live in Södertälje, which has a population of 61,000.