BERLIN/DAMASCUS (Own report) – With impressive scholarship programs, the German government seeks to establish firm ties to the future elite of post-war Syria. Already last year the German Ministry of Foreign Affairs began to bring more than 200 selected Syrian students to Germany, within the “Leadership for Syria” program, to be instructed – alongside their academic studies – in advanced training in “governance,” organizational setup and similar courses. The program run by the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) – the largest foreign program the organization has ever undertaken – has the declared objective of preparing “a select elite among Syria’s future leadership” for “active participation in organizing” post-war Syria. This assures Germany a wide range of channels for influence in Damascus over the next few decades. Berlin is also making efforts to sift out students from among the refugees arriving in Germany to be included in its efforts to gain influence. This would crystallize into Germany’s becoming the Syrian elite’s top European point of reference.