This Syrian refugee has been handing out free food to the homeless in Berlin

This Syrian refugee has been handing out free food to the homeless in Berlin

A Syrian refugee has been photographed on the streets of Berlin preparing a hot meal for local homeless people in the city.

Alex Assali moved to Germany last year after initially fleeing his home city of Damascus in 2007 when he criticised the regime of Bashar al-Assad online. He now cooks rice and stew as part of a church project he set up in order to give something back to the country that offered him shelter.

Speaking to, Assali explained that around 100 homeless people gather at the Alexanderplatz station where he cooks each Saturday.

Many people always come and I always cook for 100 persons but more than that come to eat - sometimes even more people come after I finish.

Usually they thank God and pray in the name of Jesus. They thank me and pray for me. Some of the words they say make me cry.

Assali, a Christian, was photographed by his friend Tabea Bu (pictured below), who he says also helps with the project.

After she shared the photo on her Facebook page it has since gone viral and has been picked up by the German media where many have praised his kindheartedness.

Bu explained on Facebook (translated from German):

He really has lost everything, he had to leave his family back in Syria because Isis people wanted to kill him...

Even though he doesn't have much, he goes on the street and distributes food to the homeless.

God bless him so he is a blessing for so many more people!

Picture: Alex Assali

The notice on Assali's table, written in English next to the words "Give something back to the German people", reads:

It's Christian Syrian Project to Help the Homeless People or Any Body need Help in Germany.

Our Target is to give something back to the People who helped Us. We are not consumer people but we are people who love tender

We want to be a positive part in the German community.

Want to be one hand (Syrian And German citizens) to help the others And help each others

Assali came to Germany via Lebanon, Cyprus, Egypt, Sudan and Libya, where he for a time settled and worked at Tripoli University.

There he helped up to 200 families flee Syria to Libya during the Arab Spring, but later Isis-affiliated jihadists imprisoned him, forcing him to eventually flee to Europe via boat. After arriving in Italy he travelled to Germany, where in August he started giving food to the homeless.

Picture: Alex Assali

Assali explained via email that he started the initiative after being encouraged by his pastor at the Kreuzbergprojekt Kirche and has already seen the benefits.

For example, one Hungarian man told me that he has experience in computer fixing and I was able to connect him with someone to work with and now he got a job. This is one small story of many bigger.

Germany has been one of the leading European nations in terms of taking in those fleeing war in the Middle East, and Assali says he now just wants to pay something back to the country that has provided him with a safe home:

My dream in future is to have a big house to support these people and do something positive for them because many of them need some one to guide them the right way.

Some quotes have been edited for clarity

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