IDOMENI, Greece: Through the coils of razor wire and a fence that stretches across green fields, the gathered people can see what has become a forbidden land—Macedonia and its still-snow-capped mountains, the route they had hoped to take on their journey northward through the Balkans to the more prosperous heartland of Europe, report Agencies.
The gate in the fence has been sealed for nearly a month to the thousands of refugees and other migrants whose desperate dash across the continent left Europe scrambling for a coherent response to its largest refugee crisis since World War II. The decision that eventually came was to close the western Balkan route, stranding more than 51,000 people in Greece, the vast majority of them war refugees.
Despite the closure, more than 11,000 remain in what was once a transit camp near the village of Idomeni on the Greek-Macedonian border. The camp has long since overflowed, with men, women and children enduring deplorable conditions in howling winds and pouring rain for days and weeks.
While hundreds have boarded buses heading to other, more organized camps that Greek authorities have been frantically setting up across the country, many insist they will not leave. They still hope against hope—and against all indications—that Europe will relent and reopen the borders.
Meanwhile, Amnesty International accused Turkey on Friday of illegally forcing groups of Syrians to return to their conflict-torn country, saying the alleged expulsions showed the “fatal flaws” in a migrant deal agreed with the EU. The claim by Amnesty comes just days before Turkey is due to start taking back migrants expelled from the EU under an accord reached last month.
The rights group said its research in the south of Turkey suggested the country was forcing around a hundred Syrians to return home on a daily basis.
Turkey—which has taken in 2.7 million Syrian refugees since the conflict began in 2011 -- has always vehemently denied that any Syrian is forced to go home and insists its “open door” policy remains in place.
The government has yet to comment on the latest accusations from Amnesty.
“Turkish authorities have been rounding up and expelling groups of around 100 Syrian men, women and children to Syria on a near-daily basis since mid-January,” Amnesty said.
Greece is due on Monday to start sending back to Turkey all migrants, including Syrians, who crossed the Aegean Sea illegally.
More than anything, they fear the unknown: of being sent to camps where their movements are restricted, where they might not be able to leave, where the conditions might be even worse.
“I don’t know what will happen. I am confused a little, like everyone here,” said Ahmad, a 30-year-old mechanical engineer from Daraa in Syria who would not give his surname to protect his family. Having fled Syria about two months ago, he has been in Idomeni for roughly 40 days and says he doesn’t want to move to another camp.
“I am comfortable here in a big tent. The other camps will be the same. So I just wait here.”
His dream is the same as those of countless others who have passed through these fields. “To have a safe life, in a safe country without any troubles."
source : the daily star
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