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BERLIN (AP) — The German government says a Syrian presidential decree on real estate registration is a “cynical plan” designed to confiscate refugees’ property.

The decree, which ran in state-run media this month, gives property owners in certain parts of Syria one month to provide ownership deeds or face having their property confiscated.

Government spokeswoman Ulrike Demmer told reporters in Berlin that Germany is “extremely concerned” by the effect the move will have on 11 million displaced people, including 5 million Syrians who fled abroad.

Demmer said Syrian President Bashar Assad and his allies had “intentionally besieged, starved and bombarded opposition areas to drive out the civilian population” during the conflict. She said Friday the latest measure “will make the return of refugees harder.”

Germany has taken in more than 700,000 Syrian refugees.