A Syrian refugee says that the reason migrants choose Greece as an entryway to Europe is because it is a country where illegal border crossing is not considered a crime.
Ali Kadir, a doctor in Syria is among the 800 refugees who are accommodated in Kavala, northern Greece. “I left Aleppo, Syria, and our group met in Turkey, on the coast. Then we moved to Mytilene and from there to Kavala, to find ourselves here,” he told the Athens Macedonia News Agency.
Regarding the cost of the sea journey to Greece, Ali Kadir said the Turkish traffickers asked for 700 euros per person. “Now the fares are cheap. In the past they demanded more and the boats were rickety. Imagine that I traveled on an inflatable where 70 people were piled in. Smugglers want to make about 50,000 euros for every trip,” he said.
“I work as a doctor. I have no family, so for me it is no problem wherever I go. In the past I worked in Great Britain. However, most of the 800 people that are here, plan to go to Germany. We know that Croatia and FYROM closed their borders, but we cannot stay in Kavala any more, even though the hospitality is excellent,” Kadir said.
The Syrian refugee told AMNA that most of his fellow travelers see their budget being depleted. “There are 100-200 dollars or euros left in a family. It is money that they have to keep to pay for the bus tickets that will take them to the border. However, if we can get there, we know that we will cross (the border). There are people there that if we pay them, they will help us cross, so that every one can follow their destiny,” Kadir said.
Asked about the reasons refugees choose Greece to reach the border with FYROM and not an alternative route, such as the Turkey-Bulgaria border, Kadir said, “It is the only way, the only place where crossing the border is not considered a crime. For example, a refugee who tries to cross the border of Hungary, he is faced with four years in prison. If we go from the Turkish border to Bulgaria, there are police officers there who steal our money and don’t let us pass. They will take our money, our phones and whatever they find on us. Some of our compatriots have fallen in that trap and now we know. Again, it is not sure if they will let us pass (to Bulgaria). They may send us back to Turkey. As for Albania, there is a mafia operating on the border there.”