The Long Journey To Europe

Fatima is a new Syrian bride. While many newlyweds travel across the world to celebrate their honeymoons, Batool and her husband were escaping oppression in their homeland of Syria. The bitter conflict forced them to seek safety and refuge in Europe alongside thousands of other refugees. This is her story.

We arranged with a smuggler to take us from Turkey to an island in Greece. The only material things we carried were our clothes and a blanket. The boat was filled with over 50 people, a majority of them were adults but there were also a handful of children.

When the boat reached the island, the UN and Red Crescent were there to meet us on the shore. They distributed hygiene kits, food, and medicine. The priority was to the children. Afterwards, we headed to Athens by another boat which cost 40-100 Euro per person depending on the package you take. They were also granting Syrians a 6 month residency permit to stay in Greece.  

We then took a bus to Macedonia before getting on a train to take us to Serbia. The men were put in a different train compartment. The conditions of these trains were horrible, but we made it to Croatia. I have to say, the Croatian people were very friendly. After our stop in Croatia, the next stop was Hungary. When our trains were passing through Hungary, they were stopped in the middle of the night for no apparent reason.

After waiting all night, we were finally released. In Croatia, we grabbed a taxi to take us into Austria before finally reaching the refugee camps of Germany. The campsites in Germany were very overcrowded. After Germany, we traveled to Sweden. We were given a room to stay in a camp and are currently waiting for residence.