Fidest – Agenzia giornalistica/press agency

Quotidiano di informazione – Anno 35 n°165

The migrants trapped in Europe’s oldest forest

Posted by fidest press agency su lunedì, 13 marzo 2023

On an October evening in 2021, a group of taxis stopped at the edge of a dense forest on the western border of Belarus. Husam, a 38-year-old barber from Syria, got out and peered nervously into the labyrinth of oaks, ashes and pines that stood between him and a new life. He had been waiting a long time to cross into western Europe. His sisters had escaped from Syria’s civil war and settled in Germany in 2015, but Husam, a thoughtful young man from the country’s Christian minority who had once tried to join a monastic order, stayed behind to look after his elderly parents. The family lived on the Mediterranean coast in a city deep inside government-controlled territory. Electricity was sporadic. Petrol was almost impossible to come by, and even the most basic items were dizzyingly expensive. The only way to keep up a reasonable standard of living seemed to be by joining in with the thuggery and theft. When Husam’s father died in 2021, his mother pleaded with him to leave. “There’s no life here,” she said. But by then it had become much harder to get into Europe. Husam was trapped.Then a strange thing happened: a special office operating out of Damascus airport started offering Belarusian tourist visas and hotel packages in Minsk for $4,000, no questions asked. The rumour was that smugglers would help you get from Belarus into the European Union (EU). Husam decided that this was his chance. He sold his house and shortly afterwards boarded a plane for the first time in his life. (abstract font: The Economist The Extraordinary Story)

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