Asylum Seekers Focus On Sudan As Gateway To Europe

Greece continues deporting migrants, so asylum seekers are exploring other routes, including through Sudan

Looking for less confrontational ways to get to the rest of Europe — REUTERS
Apr 12, 2016 at 5:18 PM ET

Syrians escaping a dictator accused of war crimes are risking travel to another country led by a man wanted by the International Criminal Court for suspected genocide, all to avoid entering Greece and risking expulsion to Turkey.

Images of scuffles between asylum seekers and Macedonian security forces on the Greek-Macedonian border have only fueled the desperation of migrants looking for alternate ways through to the rest of Europe. One possible way to avoid explosion is Sudan, a country some Syrians are even contemplating as making their final destination, along with those considering it as a preferred route to Europe.

More Police Fire Tear Gas, Stun Grenades At Migrants In Greece

“You can enter Sudan without any additional papers. Sudan allows Syrian to enter their country,” Abu Abd-Aziz wrote on one Facebook page Vocativ’s analysts discovered. The group page is one of the largest for asylum seekers trying to travel to Europe, and now the main topic of discussion is Sudan, where Syrians don’t need a visa to enter.

“We thank Sudan and its people for leaving the door open for us,” Adil Khatami from Aleppo wrote on the same Facebook group page.

Sudan’s sudden popularity with Syrians has made it another major focus for smugglers looking for new markets to lure desperate travelers. People seeking to reach Europe could ostensibly enter Sudan, and then travel through Libya or Egypt and from there, to Italy.

Italy is already appearing as a preferred destination to Greece.

“Hello, we are offering the best routes for those willing to enter Europe: Sudan to Libya and to Italy, Sudan to Egypt and to Italy and Sudan to Libya to Egypt and then to Italy. Sudan does not require visa for Syrians. Contact us if you are serious,” a smuggler named Abu-Mazen posted on a Facebook group full of Syrian asylum seekers” Vocativ reported last week.

Earlier this month Greece began deporting migrants back to Turkey.

Translation: “Guys, can you please elaborate about the cost of living for a family with two little kids. Is the rent expensive?”

Translation: “Guys, can one of you tell me how I can reach Sudan from Syria? I mean, what are the ways to get there.”