The Syrian Civil War has been waging since 2011, and has undoubtedly created one of the worst humanitarian crises in recent memory. Millions have been displaced by the conflict, with over 9 million having fled their homes. It is estimated that the refugees exceed 4 million – and these are only those that are registered. Rather than stay in the war-torn country, many of Syria’s desperate are doing the only thing they can – leave the country. Millions have settled in other states in the region. Lebanon, for example, has over 1 million, meaning Syrian refugees constitute a staggering 25% of its population. But the Middle East is not the final frontier. For many of Syria’s refugees there is one place they seek to go: Europe.
At the latest count, over 150,000 Syrians have claimed asylum in the European Union. This number is rising. The number of Syrian refugees arriving in Europe well exceeds this number. Refugees make the treacherous journey. In order to be eligible for asylum in the European Union, they must first reach it. Many have arrived in Italy or Greece, via the Mediterranean. However, some have been taking a much more dangerous route. Though many will enter through Turkey (which is not without its problems at the moment), others are taking a much more extreme route: through the whole of the furthest fringes of Europe.
“The whole Syria will pass through Serbia”: Belgrade to face five million refugees http://t.co/XT1nTfzddp
— Belgrade Daily (@BelgradeDaily) August 14, 2015
Thousands of Syrians brave the conditions to make the difficult journey. But of course many will stop along the way, in one of the many countries through which they pass. Serbia is the final frontier. Laying next to Hungary, an EU country, the last rusted remnants of the old Iron Curtain stands between the Syrians and what they hope is their salvation. Getting to Serbia is the first challenge.
[via Mail Online]
Macedonia is an extremely popular route. Using the old yet extensive rail network, Syrian refugees scramble aboard the trains, bound for Serbia.
Why is the world turning blind eye to Syria Crisis – hudreds of thousands of Syrian refugees arriving to Macedonia and Serbia from Greece-EU
— Marko Karadzic (@markokaradzic) August 14, 2015
Macedonia, Greece, Bulgaria, and Serbia are the stepping points into the mainland of the European Union. However, the route is not simple.
— Ian Geldard (@igeldard) August 14, 2015
The enforcement of the Schengen Agreement allows passport-free travel throughout the EU. It is hoped that once in Hungary from Serbia, the Syrian refugees will be able to find better lives anywhere in the European Union. But these routes are under threat. Hungary is in the midst of building a colossal fence on its border with Serbia. Germany is on the brink of demanding an end to the passport-free arrangement. Syrian refugees may face hostility, discrimination and harassment, and may be subject to poor living conditions.
What does it say about Europe that people fleeing civil war in Syria are crammed in a Greek stadium without food or water in 32degrees heat?
— Ian Birrell (@ianbirrell) August 12, 2015
But faced with ongoing conflict, and caught in the cross-hairs of a regional battle that seeks to engulf the entire Middle East, any option seems better than Syria.