The majority of Syrians who have passed through Italy in the past year and a half have left Syria around 2011 and 2012. As we have seen, these people often richer, were able to take flights to Egypt and Libya and from here they decided, sometimes months or years later, to take the road by sea to arrive in Europe.
Not everybody, however, chooses this road. Some of the people who have passed by Milan have told us a different story. They have crossed the border between Syria and Turkey by foot to then take smugglers’ boats to Greece. Once in Greece, outside the detention centres, most people have told us to have had to sleep on the streets into the ruins of the Acropolis near Athens without any kind of legal or health assistance. From there some of them decide to buy a fake ID card from an Eastern European country in order to take the ferry boats to Italy. Others risk to die of asphyxia while travelling hiding into trucks through the Balkans into Northern Europe.
It is important to remember that every and each segment of this trip is extremely dangerous. People risk to drown, the border with Turkey is controlled by armed troops, the Greek coastguard often fires against boats causing people to drown and a people are constantly at the mercy of human beings smugglers.
During this trip people feel constant fear, they are humiliated and receive no kind of assistance. Very often while trying to get on the ferry boats to Italy or at the port people are recognised as Syrians and sent back.