Investigations | 21 Oct 2014

A new documentary film, reveals the adventure of five friends Syrians in one of the most dangerous illegal immigration trips toward Europe, wherein circa 200 immigrants perished in the middle of the sea, including two of the five Syrian friends "Muaaz, Majd, Rasha, Kinan and Khalid."

All the scenes of the filmwhich was published by the British newspaper "The Guardian," and shot by Majd who used his hidden mobile phone—depict the group's flight, which began from Damascus to Beirut on the 16th of August, then to Algeria, where they contacted the smuggler who delivered them to others in Libya.

According to Rasha, Muaz's sister, the "immigrants were then sold by the Algerian smugglers to their Libyan counterparts." She suggests that these smugglers "follow the rebels of Zintan or what is known as the Libyan Free Army," adding that the smugglers there asked her to wear the Hijab "because they were conservative people, according to them."

In a remote and isolated area, and at gunpoint, the smugglers forced the immigrants, including the young Syrians, to pay. Says Rasha: "We knew at this moment that they had deceived us, and there was nothing that we can do." Muaz adds: "They took us to a Libyan region called Ghadames, and entered us into a house in the middle of the desert. They placed us in separate rooms for men and women."

Says Rasha: "There were some families in that dirty house... After four or five days, they brought large trucks, and put about fifty people in each truck. We spent 15 hours in that truck, traveling in the desert."

Then she adds: "Around midnight the smugglers advised us that the trip will begin. We began to enter into the boat filled with immigrants, until there were almost 540 of us. They had orignally told us that the boat would only carry 250 people, and that they would hand us life jackets. But everything they had told us were lies."

The young Syrians show in their film, which lasts for about 8 minutes, that immigrants who did not obey the smugglers were beaten inside the boat. Says Rasha: "One of the immigrants began pleading with the smugglers, even offering them $1500, to return him to Libyan territory, but his pleas were completely ignored."

In the middle of the sea, water began to seep into the boat. It was then that the "immigrants felt real danger. Some began to read the Koran and saying the Shahada [the proclamation of faith]" says Rasha. Her brother Muaz asked her to jump out of the boat, and after some hesitation, he pushed her into the water and also jumped. They clung to a small rubber dinghy, while some bodies started to float on the surface.

The survivors spent about four hours resisting in the midst of the sea, until the Italian Coast Guard eventually reached that corpse-filled area.

Rasha points out that "out of 540 people, 200 eventually drowned," including two of the five friends... namely Kinan and Khaled.

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