Syrian Refugees in Greece: “We Don’t Have Peace in Anything”

November 23, 2015                                                                     THE INTERCEPT

I MET SIMA FARAUATE, 27, at the entrance to Kara Tepe refugee camp on the Greek island of Lesbos a few days after the terrorist attacks in Paris killed 130 people and unleashed an anti-immigrant backlash across Europe.
Sima Farauate, a 27-year-old Syrian refugee, stands by an old olive tree at the Kara Tepe transit camp on the outskirts of the city of Mytiline on the Greek island of Lesbos, November 19, 2015.
Photo: Heidi Levine for The Intercept
She and her husband, Amaas, had just survived the dangerous sea crossing from Turkey operated by smugglers that has been the main route for refugees and migrants seeking safe haven from ISIS in Europe. For around $1,000 each, they had been transported to the coast by bus from Izmir, Turkey, kept hidden in an olive grove overnight, then jammed into a rubber dinghy with 45 other refugees. Once their boat reached Lesbos, they walked to a reception center along the coast and then a bus transported them 45 kilometers over the steep terrain of northern Lesbos to the camp near the capital city of Mytilene. “I’m so tired,” Sima said. “So tired.”

I could imagine that she was, and not only because of the boat trip. The young couple was from Aleppo, which has been devastated by the ongoing war in Syria. Sima told me they couldn’t survive there any longer. “It was impossible.” So they walked three days from their home to cross the border into Turkey. “We walk all the time. This is our life now.”



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