The far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) party called on Thursday for the repatriation of half a million Syrian refugees living in Germany, saying the war there was nearly over and that President Bashar al-Assad had urged refugees to return home.

Earlier on Thursday, Syria’s army declared victory over Islamic State, saying its capture of the jihadists’ last town in the country marked the collapse of their three-year, hardline reign in the region.

However, fighting is continuing in many areas, the United Nations says, in a complex civil war in which millions have been killed or forced to flee their homes, many to neighbouring countries or to Europe.

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