Breaking News
Get Actionable Insights with InvestingPro+: Start 7 Day FREE Trial Register here
Investing Pro 0
Ad-Free Version. Upgrade your Investing.com experience. Save up to 40% More details

'It's all lies'; migrants stuck at Polish border feel cheated by people smugglers

WorldNov 28, 2021 06:21AM ET
Saved. See Saved Items.
This article has already been saved in your Saved Items
 
5/5 © Reuters. Marysia Zlonkiewicz, volunteer of The Grupa Granica (The Border Group) poses for a picture in Grodek, Poland November 25, 2021. Picture taken November 25, 2021. REUTERS/Lukasz Glowala 2/5

By Yara Abi Nader and Joanna Plucinska

ORLA/BIALYSTOK, Poland (Reuters) - Syrian friends Anas Kanaan, 34, and Mouein al-Hadi, 36, were told by people smugglers that they would easily be able to get to Germany from Belarus. They just had to pay 3,000 euros ($3,390) each to an intermediary in Turkey.

But the safe crossings from Belarus to Poland indicated by the smugglers were closed off. Then, after more than a week spent camping in freezing forests on the border, a smuggler led them to a Polish village in broad daylight where they were easily spotted by police, arrested and returned to Belarus.

"It's like our money has just basically evaporated," al-Hadi told Reuters in a field near the Polish town of Orla after again managing to breach the border but now unable to walk because his feet were swollen from the cold.

His childhood mate Kanaan added: "It's all lies. They all lead you to roads where you can die. And at the end they tell you 'we are not responsible for you. Die, whatever'. They just want your money."

Shortly afterwards, the two Syrians - who said they want to request asylum in Poland, not move on westwards to Germany - were picked up once again by the Polish border guard who said they would be taken to a detention centre.

"More people are becoming aware that they've been led into a trap and that what they've been promised is a lie," said Marysia Zlonkiewicz, an activist from Polish charity With Bread and Salt.

HARDER TO CROSS

The crisis on the Belarusian border, involving thousands of migrants from Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere all hoping to get into the European Union, has dragged on for months.

Poland and the EU accuse President Alexander Lukashenko of encouraging the migrants to travel to Belarus and cross the border illegally as revenge for sanctions imposed on Minsk over human rights abuses. Belarus denies the charge and says the EU is to blame for the humanitarian crisis on the border.

Migrants face a much tougher challenge now to enter the EU.

Under EU pressure, airlines have restricted flights from the Middle East to Belarus, while many travel agencies in the region have stopped selling plane tickets to the ex-Soviet republic.

Poland has deployed over 20,000 border guards, soldiers and police in a sealed-off border zone, while Belarusian authorities have taken many migrants back to Minsk with the apparent aim of letting them return to their home countries.

Poland's Border Guard says illegal border crossing attempts have dropped to around 200 attempts a day from about 500.

Around 314 smugglers have been detained in Poland since August, police data shows. They are from countries including Germany, Sweden, Ukraine and Georgia.

As crossings have become more difficult, the people smugglers have hiked their prices to as much as $7,000, migrants told Reuters.

'NO GOING BACK'

"With every day, things are evolving on the border. Every day, there is a (new) obstacle, there are more guards, more people," Syrian migrant Khaled Zein Al Deen, 45, told Reuters at an open migrant centre in the Polish city of Bialystok.

He and his five relatives lost 18,000 euros to smugglers who promised to take them to a safe apartment, with a car driving ahead of them to make sure there were no police checks. That also proved a lie, and they were caught.

A Polish army spokesperson said the tighter security was making migrants more desperate, with many using force to push through, especially further south, with the help of Belarusians who gave them implements to break down the border fence.

Despite the falling temperatures and increased risks of being caught, the migrants are unlikely to give up trying to get cross, activist Zlonkiewicz told Reuters.

"When it comes to development, education or finding work many of these people have nothing to return to, they have no choice," she said.

"Families went into debt or sold their apartments and homes. There's no going back."

($1 = 0.8846 euros)

'It's all lies'; migrants stuck at Polish border feel cheated by people smugglers
 

Related Articles

Add a Comment

Comment Guidelines

We encourage you to use comments to engage with other users, share your perspective and ask questions of authors and each other. However, in order to maintain the high level of discourse we’ve all come to value and expect, please keep the following criteria in mind:  

  •            Enrich the conversation, don’t trash it.

  •           Stay focused and on track. Only post material that’s relevant to the topic being discussed. 

  •           Be respectful. Even negative opinions can be framed positively and diplomatically. Avoid profanity, slander or personal attacks directed at an author or another user. Racism, sexism and other forms of discrimination will not be tolerated.

  • Use standard writing style. Include punctuation and upper and lower cases. Comments that are written in all caps and contain excessive use of symbols will be removed.
  • NOTE: Spam and/or promotional messages and comments containing links will be removed. Phone numbers, email addresses, links to personal or business websites, Skype/Telegram/WhatsApp etc. addresses (including links to groups) will also be removed; self-promotional material or business-related solicitations or PR (ie, contact me for signals/advice etc.), and/or any other comment that contains personal contact specifcs or advertising will be removed as well. In addition, any of the above-mentioned violations may result in suspension of your account.
  • Doxxing. We do not allow any sharing of private or personal contact or other information about any individual or organization. This will result in immediate suspension of the commentor and his or her account.
  • Don’t monopolize the conversation. We appreciate passion and conviction, but we also strongly believe in giving everyone a chance to air their point of view. Therefore, in addition to civil interaction, we expect commenters to offer their opinions succinctly and thoughtfully, but not so repeatedly that others are annoyed or offended. If we receive complaints about individuals who take over a thread or forum, we reserve the right to ban them from the site, without recourse.
  • Only English comments will be allowed.

Perpetrators of spam or abuse will be deleted from the site and prohibited from future registration at Investing.com’s discretion.

Write your thoughts here
 
Are you sure you want to delete this chart?
 
Post
Post also to:
 
Replace the attached chart with a new chart ?
1000
Your ability to comment is currently suspended due to negative user reports. Your status will be reviewed by our moderators.
Please wait a minute before you try to comment again.
Thanks for your comment. Please note that all comments are pending until approved by our moderators. It may therefore take some time before it appears on our website.
Comments (1)
James White
James White Nov 28, 2021 5:55AM ET
Saved. See Saved Items.
This comment has already been saved in your Saved Items
How stupid are you?
Nov 28, 2021 5:55AM ET
Saved. See Saved Items.
This comment has already been saved in your Saved Items
They're desperate.
 
Are you sure you want to delete this chart?
 
Post
 
Replace the attached chart with a new chart ?
1000
Your ability to comment is currently suspended due to negative user reports. Your status will be reviewed by our moderators.
Please wait a minute before you try to comment again.
Add Chart to Comment
Confirm Block

Are you sure you want to block %USER_NAME%?

By doing so, you and %USER_NAME% will not be able to see any of each other's Investing.com's posts.

%USER_NAME% was successfully added to your Block List

Since you’ve just unblocked this person, you must wait 48 hours before renewing the block.

Report this comment

I feel that this comment is:

Comment flagged

Thank You!

Your report has been sent to our moderators for review
Continue with Google
or
Sign up with Email