He was named by police as Jaber Albakr. He was born Jan. 10, 1994 and is from the Damascus countryside, police said.
The details emerged during a large-scale police operation in the city of Chemnitz.
Two people were arrested at the city's train station, police said, and their luggage was being searched. The station was temporarily cordoned off, police said. Another person was arrested in the city center. Police said they believe the person was in contact with the suspect.
Officers found traces of explosives in their search of an apartment in the city's Fritz-Heckert district, Saxony Police spokesman Tom Bernhardt told CNN.
Bernhardt said it was not known at this point whether the suspect was armed or in possession of explosives.
In a Facebook statement later, Bernhardt said police found a highly explosive mix of substances at the apartment that is more dangerous than TNT and could cause significant damage in small amounts.
Police said the substance can't be transported easily, so they dug several holes in which they detonated the explosive material.
Police in Berlin beefed up controls at the airport and train stations, according to CNN affiliate NTV.
The tip about the apartment came from the German interior intelligence services, he said. Police carried out a controlled explosion to gain access to the apartment.
A police media release said Albakr was currently wearing a black hooded sweatshirt.
In a video on Facebook, Bernhardt said the suspect should be considered dangerous.
Homes cordoned off
The operation -- which saw large areas of the city cordoned off -- was coming to an end Saturday evening, the spokesman told CNN. Police were trying to clear the area so residents could return to their homes.
People were warned to stay indoors while the police raid was underway.
They were also urged via Twitter not to post photographs or video to social media while the operation was ongoing.
Chemnitz is only about 40 miles from the city of Dresden, where security was stepped up last month following two bomb attacks
, one on a mosque and another on a conference center.
Two homemade devices were involved in those attacks, police said. No one was injured.
Once known as Karl-Marx-Stadt
Chemnitz, a city of more than 200,000 people, is in Germany's east, lying to the south of Berlin and Leipzig, not far from the border with the Czech Republic.
From 1953 to 1990, as part of the former East Germany, the city was known as Karl-Marx-Stadt. It still features a 7-meter high bust of the philosopher Karl Marx.