Boats of Death…. hundreds of Syrians sink in the Mediterranean

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Migrants take shelter from the sun before disembarking a coast guard ship at the Sicilian harbour of Augusta, August 26, 2014. (Reuters)

ARA News

Qamishli, Syria – In order to escape the deteriorating situation in their homelands, illegal migrants face death through their difficult journey which is full of risks, including drowning which has caused the deaths of hundreds of people (mostly Syrians), who are illegally emigrating from their war-torn country to seek safety and stability for themselves and their children in Europe. 

Before the start of the anti-Assad uprising in 2011, the economic situation was very difficult, as a high percentage of the population suffered poverty under harsh economic conditions. However, the economic situation worsened with the outbreak of the crisis created by the civil war and the lack of employment opportunities. 

This situation has pushed everyone to consider new sources of livelihood. Amid the scarcity of resources, every month hundreds of Syrian families pursue illegal ways to escape their poverty and brutality of war.

Strangely enough, these people who are already in desperate need of money are paying smugglers large sums of money. The strangest thing is that they know the risks that surround them in small boats crossing the Mediterranean. 

Speaking to ARA News, activist Mohammed Saeed said that the influx of immigrants from Syria towards European countries is a result of the widespread corruption and poor security and economic conditions, adding that most of the smugglers are exploiting those immigrants during their journey.

“Syrians are treated as a trading commodity among smugglers who steal their money and ferry them through the Mediterranean, but dozens lose their lives while riding small and badly prepared boats, which have became known as Boats of Death,” Saeed added. 

In an interview with ARA News, Siham Darwish, who crossed the Mediterranean to Germany with her family, said that as a result of the deteriorating security and economic situation, she decided with her family to head to Europe, thinking of Germany as the final destination in their hard journey.

“We left Damascus heading towards Lebanon for air travel to Libya, but we were arrested in Lebanon at the international airport, and I was forcibly returned to Syria after spending 15 days in jail with our children, my husband was detained for four months,” Darwish said. “After my husband’s release, we decided to try again.”

“During our second attempt, we were able to reach Libya, and we took a boat to go to the European coast. We were crowed with nearly 150 people, including seven men whereas the rest were women and children. After a one month long journey in a small boat which was barely moving under the bad weather conditions in the Mediterranean, we were able to reach the Italian beach, and we finally reached Germany by train,” she told ARA News.

“After risking our lives, we were lucky to arrive here (in Germany),” Darwish said. “Many others are awaiting an unknown fate while many others were on boats that sank in the middle of the merciless sea.”

According to activists, Syrians are indifferent about risking their lives for the sake of enjoying “security and dignity”. 

 

Reporting by: Rudi Ahmed

Source: ARA News

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