News | 25 05 2020
Carrying his bag and dreams with him towards Europe, he bid farewell to his friends, family, and even to the cats in his neighborhood in Istanbul, Turkey, where he spent 5 years of his life, but he did not know that it was his last goodbye and not just a farewell of migration.
The Syrian young man, Ahmad Abu Emad, 18, passed away after he was shot dead on the Greek borders by the border guards, who decided to end his life, just like they decided to end the lives of thousands of refugees when preventing them from entering the Greek lands to move through it to Europe.
Ali Idris, one of the Syrians who documented the moment of the killing of the young man, told Rozana that he and about 500 migrants arrived at the Greek borders in an area called "Olosal," where the Greek security guards were stationed with their weapons.
“Greek security shot fire in the air to prevent the migrants from advancing, but they did not retreat. At that time, the security guards shot the young man Ahmad Abu Amad, who is originally from the city of Aleppo, injuring him in his throat and killing him on the spot. His corpse was then taken to a hospital by the Turkish border guards,” Idris added.
He indicated that the migrants were from different nationalities, including Syrians.
Abed Houry, one of the Syrians who documented the moments of the migrants’ departure to the Greek borders, wrote on his official Facebook page: “I spent 14 hours on the Greek borders. I did not lose anything, but during this time I inhaled tear gas; I was freezing; My mobile phone was broken, and I felt tired of seeing children in the open air breathing the gas."
Houry warned refugees wishing to emigrate to forget about this idea, as he is sure that it is impossible for Greece to open its borders to refugees, saying: "Do not try and lose your time, health and money."
Houry’s warnings were not only due to the difficulty of the trip in the rain, the freezing cold, and Greece’s refusal to open its borders, but also due to the violations against refugees at the borders. In fact, a number of Syrian migrants confirmed on social media that the Greek border guards intercepted them and their families, took their money and their mobile phones, and returned them to Turkish borders.
For its part, the Greek Coast Guard confirmed the death of a child by drowning, and the rescue of 47 migrants, whose inflatable boat sank near the Greek island of Lesbos.
A Greek police official said that at least 1,000 migrants have arrived in the Aegean islands in eastern Greece, since Sunday morning, according to Reuters news agency.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan accused the Greek forces of killing two migrants and seriously injuring a third one. In turn, the Greek government spokesman Stelios Petsas denied this, saying that the Greek border guards did not shoot anyone who was trying to enter the country illegally.
More than 1,000 migrants
The flow of migrants to the Turkish-Greek borders started on Thursday evening, after Ankara announced that it would not hinder the movement of irregular migration to Europe, against the background of the killing of 33 Turkish soldiers with air strikes in Idlib.
The Turkish authorities have prepared migration conditions for refugees, and provided free transport buses from several regions in the governorate, to transport refugees to the border governorate of Edirne, then to Greece and then European countries.
Rozana’s correspondent Muhyiddin Abdel Razzaq indicated that hundreds of Syrian migrants left with their needs without thinking, following the Turkish decision to allow them to migrate to Europe, after previous failed attempts of many of them to leave Turkey.
Causes of migration
Migrants try to enter Greece from various points, either by land or sea. They cut barbed wires or jump over them, amid a security tightening by the Greek police to prevent the migrants’ entry, by firing rubber bullets, gas bombs, or live bullets.
Abdullah, a 32-year-old Syrian young man, has tried during his 5 years in Turkey to travel to Greece, but his attempts have failed, he said to Rozana, considering that "the Turkish decision is an opportunity that will not be repeated even though they do not understand what happened. However, he and his friends decided to start again and migrate for a more stable life."
"I spent five years without being able to gain any experience, as if I did not live them. Perhaps in Europe I can improve myself in work or study," Abdullah added commenting on the reason for his desire to travel outside Turkish territories.
“I spent years of misery here, amid high living standards and unemployment that we have been suffering from. I only want to secure a decent life for my family and children in Europe,” said Abu Akram, 55, to Rozana, even though he has not yet determined his destination, considering that Europe is every Syrian's dream for stability.
"Spending long hours at work has prevented me from learning the Turkish language; therefore I wasn't able to integrate in society. This is one of the reasons that urge me to immigrate to Turkey. Everyone knows that in this place, if you don't work, you cannot live, but in Europe at least, there is a possibility for integration," said Nour, a 28 year old young Syrian, who has been working in sewing in Gaziantep city.
"I have many friends in Istanbul who do not have temporary protection cards, as it is hard to get it. They are always anxious and afraid of being arrested and deported. Also, they have decided to immigrate to Europe, leaving everything behind and heading for the Greek border,” he added.
According to Turkish Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu, from Thursday evening until Sunday, the number of migrants who left Edirne, in northwestern Turkey, towards Europe, reached one 100,577 migrants.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan stressed that his country would keep the doors open for refugees who want to head to Europe. He also said that Turkey cannot bear a new wave of immigration, especially that thousands of Syrians in Idlib have been moving to the Syrian-Turkish border because of hostilities between the opposing parties.
Since the refugees' departure from Istanbul, Rozana's correspondent Dima al-Sayed has been accompanying migrants in their journey, day by day. She has been describing the suffering of migrants on their way to the Greek border.
On the thresholds of Greece
On a related subject, a video circulated on social networks showing immigrants, including women and children, arriving to Greek coast on a rubber boat. They were prevented from landing by unknown persons.
The Anadolu news agency reported that the Greek coast guard teams prevented a boat with immigrants on board, from heading to the Greek islands, after confiscating its fuel package, leaving them facing the sea to paralyze their movement.
The news agency indicated that the migrants stranded at sea were rescued by the Turkish Coast Guard. On Sunday, on the coast of Izmir, the Turkish coast guard saved 136 migrants from drowning and rescued two boats in the same region with 111 immigrants on board, including Syrians.
The newspaper "Kathimerini" reported that Greece has sent an additional 1,000 military and 400 police officers in order to reinforce the guard of its borders with Turkey.
The newspaper pointed out that Ankara's decision to open the border to Europe caused tension on the border and in the neutral zone between the two countries, causing clashes between migrants and Greek police at the border.
The newspaper added that in the last hours, 27 refugees were rescued at Lesbos Island in the eastern Aegean Sea, where strong winds blow.
Ankara has repeatedly threatened to open its borders to migrants to Europe, in order to put pressure on the countries of the European Union, which suffered a wave of massive displacement during the summer of 2015.
In March 2016, Turkey and the European Union signed an immigration agreement, which has resulted in a decrease in the number of migrants to Greece.
According to the Pew Research Center, the number of Syrians who fled the war in Syria about 9 years ago reaches 13 million, which represents 60 percent of the pre-war population.
Under Greece's request, the EU foreign minister decided to hold an emergency meeting next week to discuss the subject of illegal immigration to which Ankara opened its doors.
Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis stressed that Greece is determined to protect its borders. He warned the immigrants that his country "would turn them back if they will try to enter the country illegally."