VIDEO: 13,000 Syrian, Iraqi Refugees Held Up at Greece Border with Macedonia

Tue Mar 8, 2016 08:25:21

As the European Union and Turkey try to thrash out tangible ways to deal with the massive refugee crisis sweeping the continent, upwards of 13,000 people are now stranded on the Greece-Macedonian border anxiously waiting for any news of what their fate holds.

Hour by hour, an increasing number of refugees stream into Idomeni on the Greek border with Macedonia.

Fires burn for warmth and to clear the piles of garbage are piling up. Disease is spreading quickly and Greece has called on its Ministry of Health to help with the humanitarian crisis.

While information is limited, people at the camp know it will be a long wait and one they have no control over.

Macedonia has only been allowing a small trickle of Syrian and Iraqi refugees through in recent days and since 04:00 Monday, the border has been completely shut.

Refugees have been sat in the cold at the border for two or three days, waiting in the hope that the gates will open.

Each refugee requires a registration paper stamped by Greek authorities. However, on Monday, the registration papers of Iraqis were not stamped, which could indicate that Iraqis will be the next nationality denied entry into Europe.

Iraqi refugee Ali Rida Abed Ward El Issawi and his family do not know what they will do if the borders are closed to them.

“Really I don’t know, at times they say Iraqis may not come in. Sometimes even those from Baghdad can’t cross. We can’t go back to Iraq because we are wanted by the Iraqi government. This is very strange,” he said.

Even for Syrians, the wait is long and the outcome unknown.

Jamel, his wife and two young daughters have been at the Greek border for more than a month. He said his family’s life rests in the hands of the policymakers meeting in Brussels.

“I sleep in the dirt with my friend. What we can do?” said Jamel.

With few other options, the refugees at the camp are living in limbo, and some are even considering a return to the dire situations that they left behind.

“I don’t need money in Germany. I have money. But, [if] it’s not opened, okay, I want to move and go back,” said Jamel.

According to the EU, the solution to the refugee crisis is for Turkey to stop the flow of refugees crossing the Aegean to get to Greece. However, that does little to answer what the future holds for the thousands already here, AP reported.

S/SH 11

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