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A boy reached Europe from Syria on the age of 11

When Khalil left Syria, he was simply six years outdated. It was a time when the civil battle in Syria was at its peak and pictures of combating have been coming in on daily basis.

He lived along with his taxi driver father, his mom and two youthful sisters within the Homs province of western Syria.

Homs is Syria’s third largest metropolis, which had a inhabitants of 1.5 million earlier than the battle. It grew to become the primary battleground for the insurrection towards President Bashar al-Assad when its residents known as for the overthrow of the federal government in early 2011.

Khalil stated, “My village is between two mountains and there was combating there each night time.”

“When troopers and rebels fired at one another, we might see the hearth and light-weight from the tip of their weapons. I used to be very scared.”

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In late 2015, the rebels misplaced management of Homs, leaving it within the fingers of presidency safety forces.

Throughout the rebellion, tens of hundreds of individuals have been arrested beneath the ‘anti-terror’ legislation, which criminalises virtually all peaceable opposition actions. Khalil’s father Ibrahim was additionally detained.

“Once they got here out, we suffered quite a bit. So we determined to depart Syria,” Khalil stated.

Thus started his decade-long journey as a refugee boy.

Of the 12 million individuals displaced for the reason that Syrian battle started, 60% have fled the nation.

About 1.5 million Syrians reside in neighbouring Lebanon. Lebanon, which has a complete inhabitants of 5.3 million, is the one nation on the planet to have the very best proportion of refugees.

This was Khalil’s household’s first cease too. They lived with a Syrian household pal for nearly a yr, however ultimately determined to depart Lebanon as a result of they thought there was no future there.

Children of Syria - Humanium

He reached Turkey legally by aircraft.

After the beginning of the civil battle, Turkey began the Open Door Coverage and nonetheless 3.6 million registered Syrian refugees reside right here.

Khalil settled along with his household in Istanbul, Turkey’s largest metropolis, the place 5 lakh Syrian refugees reside, whereas the inhabitants of this metropolis is 1.6 crore.

He stayed right here for 4 years however he had problem residing there amid rising tensions between the locals and the refugees. He was there for 4 years.

Khalil stated, “Youngsters in Istanbul would inform me – why do not you return to Syria? I needed to face a number of issues. However I assumed nothing would change by simply crying. I needed to transfer on with life.”

In mid-2019, information got here out that Turkey was forcibly extraditing Syrians, though the Turkish authorities denied it.

In view of such circumstances, Khalil’s household determined to maneuver on from there. They went to the southwestern coastal city of Bordum to journey throughout the Aegean Sea to Greece.

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After three failed makes an attempt, they lastly acquired a spot on a ship carrying 50 individuals and reached the Greek island of Kos.

Khalil stated, “It felt like a dream for us. We have been joyful and secure and thank God for this. We thought – we received. Ah, we might make our future.”

However this dream was to not final lengthy. In 2020, there have been stories that migrants and refugees have been being turned again from the Greek sea border to Turkey.

Human rights organizations criticized the federal government for mistreatment of refugees, though the Greek administration on the time denied mistreatment.

Ibrahim was scared, however his son proposed to separate and go to Europe alone.

“Initially my father refused, however after some thought he stated, ‘Son, are you certain?’ I stated – sure. He stated, “Then prepare.” Leaving his household behind, Khalil, 13, set out for Albania with different refugees in October 2020.

They walked 165 kilometres, crossing mountains and rivers, with out meals, relying solely on some tuna and chocolate for power.

The group had organized for water and sleeping luggage. They recorded their journey on their telephones and stored joking to maintain their confidence up.

After two weeks on the street, they reached Pristina, the capital of Kosovo, from the place they started their journey in direction of the nation’s neighbour Serbia.

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In November 2020, Khalil reached Belgrade, the capital of Serbia.

“It is sufficient, I am so drained,” he stated whereas recording on his cell to ship a message to his household.

Khalil ultimately desires to go to Austria or the Netherlands, west of Serbia.

He tried a number of instances to cross the EU border, 11 instances in Hungary, 3 times in Croatia and as soon as in Romania. All makes an attempt failed.

After 4 months of attempting, he started to undergo well being issues as a consequence of long-term journey that prevented him from touring additional. He then settled in Belgrade.

In accordance with an estimate, greater than 1 million migrants and refugees have taken the so-called Balkan route to achieve European nations since 2015.

The European Council on Refugees and Exiles (ECRE) says that yearly hundreds of individuals are compelled to show again, face violence and harassment by smugglers and safety and border guards, and reside in inhumane situations that pose a danger to their well being