'Passports, please': Syrians halted minutes after German checks begin

German police officers stand on the side of the road as they check cars on September 13, 2015, in the southern German city of FreilassingBarely four minutes after police put out traffic cones to begin Germany’s first border controls over a refugee influx surge, three young Syrians crossing on foot from Austria were stopped. “Can I see your passports, please?” a federal police officer asked, halting the men in their tracks at Freilassing, a key land crossing for travellers between the Salzburg region and the southern German region of Bavaria. “We have been walking through Europe for 22 days,” said 27-year-old Hatem Ali Ahaj, who suffers from asthma and was struggling to catch his breath.

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