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Migrant stories from refugees fleeing from ISIS

Five migrant stories from Greece: The pull of Europe

According to Bhasker Solanki and Jim Muir, BBC journalists, nearly 600,000 refugees and migrants have crossed the Mediterranean sea to Europe this year. Most of them have landed on the Greek islands nearest to Turkey.


Experts on migration claim that the amount of people arriving to the islands have increased recently to as many as 7,000 a day, trying to get to Europe before the weather gets worse.

Most of the refugees arriving in Greece are from Syria, Afghanistan, Iraq and Pakistan. A few that arrived to Lesbos told BBC News their stories.

A 24 year old Iraqi named Ali Fellah came from Najaf with his wife and son, fleeing from ISIS militants and the shortage of services such as basic drinking water. He said that he was not thinking about himself, he only cares about the future of his son.

Sara Arbini, a 40 year old Syrian woman, came to Lesbos with her two sons from the Damascus suburb of Ghouta, because life there was too difficult to endure and she could not find the medicines she needed. She said she felt as though time had gone back 200 years into the past. Her husband is still in Syria.

A 21 year old Afghan man called Ali Nyazifled Kunduz was forced to flee  when the Taliban took control of the city. He traveled to Turkey through Iran. He has no clue as to where he wants to go in Europe, all he knows is that he desperately wants to get to some county in Europe.

Ahmed Umar, aged 20 and from Somalia, says that the violence in Mogadishu and a lack of work and education opportunities influenced him to leave. After travelling a long journey to Turkey, he says his final destination is Germany.

Why I fled: New migrants in Italy share their stories

According to CNN reporters Karl Penhaul and Vasco Cotovio, Ajmal Sadiqi wanted to flee from the constant fighting of his hometown, Afghanistan. He said he was tired of being scared all the time. Ajmal informed CNN that even if you’re not aligned with anyone, you can just be going to the market and you end up dead.

First he traveled through Iran into Turkey. He go on to a small wooden boat with four other adults and three children. They rowed throughout the night towards Greece and were picked up by the Greek coastguard. Sadiqi informed CNN of a grim statistic — claiming that 90% of people who take that same journey die along the way.

He took a bus on the last part of his journey to Italy, where he’s been since 2008. He has been trying to find a job ever since but does not have the necessary documents. He attempted reaching the United Kingdom in 2012 but was turned back at the border. He tried to go to Germany too, where one of his brothers lives, but he had no luck with that either. He went back to Italy, hoping to get the asylum he needs to get papers.

What he now calls home is an abandoned house that he shares with many other migrants of different nationalities. He still hopes his situation will work out for the good.

“Afghanistan has been at war for 50 years and things are never going to change. Here, I have nothing, but I feel safe. I can walk on the street without being afraid.”

Despite that, Sadiqi would prefer his mother and sister not to come to Europe as he believes that: “The journey is too dangerous for a woman.”

Idah Yaro, who was an economics student from Maiduguri, northern Nigeria, dropped out of Jos University in his first year studying economics. He claimed that there were tensions between Christians and he and his fellow Muslims at that time, even before the rise of Boko Haram.

He left Nigeria and traveled to Libya via Niger, which was then still ruled by Moammar Gadhafi. He stayed for some time with a Nigerian friend and then got a free passage on a boat owned by the employer of his friend. Yaro claimed he and 35 men from Ghana, Somalia and Sudan got on to a crowded inflatable dinghy and made it easily to Malta.

Yaro stayed in Malta for six years. He was lucky enough to find odd jobs in restaurants and he said he even paid taxes, though his application for asylum and legal documents was rejected.

Six months later he took a ferry to Sicily. Since then he has been living rough, sleeping on the streets of Catania or sometimes at a facility of the Catholic charity Caritas.

“I came because I wanted some peace — that’s why I ran,” he said in relation to his decision of leaving Nigeria. “But I have found no peace. I was detained for a year and a month in Malta. They don’t care about you here. If somebody dies they don’t care they just put you in a grave and that’s it. They don’t try and find your family.”

  • Solanki, B. and Muir, J. (2015, October 14). Five migrant stories from Greece: The pull of Europe. Retrieved from:
  • Penhaul, K. and Cotovio, V. (2015, April 24). Why I fled: New migrants in Italy share their stories. Retrieved from:



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