Published On: Tue, May 23rd, 2023
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Migrants describe ‘road of death’ to reach Britain | World | News

Desperate migrants on Tuesday night told how they are willing to take a “road of death” to reach Britain.

Asylum seekers in Istanbul revealed they were beaten by police in both Bulgaria and Greece on previous attempts to reach Europe.

But they said they will still try to reach Britain again for a “better life”.

Migrants told the Daily Express people smugglers lied to them about what their journeys would be like.

Sarhang Ababakr, 22, from Erbil, Iraq, said: “The road we are about to take is about 80 percent death, 20 percent survival.

READ MORE: Europe turns blind eye to let migrants reach UK, smuggler reveals

“In Greece, I was badly, badly hit. In Bulgaria, when they hit you, they mean to kill you.

“I had a friend who was in a very bad shape when he was deported to Istanbul. We were caught by the police. They were treating us very badly. We were put on our bellies and we were beaten. I had a friend who was beaten by five policemen.

“It is a road of death. There is nothing to eat. I couldn’t drink for two days last time.

“But we don’t have any other choice. It is the only way we can take.

“I don’t trust smugglers. It is all a lie. The best option, when you take the road for the first time, you see the reality and the second time you can find a person you can trust.

“It is very, very easy to find smugglers. But it is very hard to find a good one. Sometimes, we never see the face of the smugglers.”

Mr Ababakr revealed smugglers are enticing migrants to cross into Europe by offering them free accommodation in Istanbul.

He said, sitting next to the Bosphorus Strait in Istanbul: “We have to find a smuggler. If not, we can’t take the road.

“It is not clear or obvious when your journey will begin. Sometimes, the roads will be closed.

“Some of the smugglers are providing free motels. But I don’t use them now. I have used them before. They are very dirty.

“I am not afraid of smugglers. I am only afraid of God.”

Iraqi Kurd Sarmand Subhi, 19, from Erbil, revealed he is looking for his own way to Europe after being caught in Bulgaria last year.

Sarmand, whose parents were killed in a bomb blast in 2005, told how police snapped his arm and his friends were beaten.

Speaking in Istanbul, the teenager said: “I tried once before.

“When I crossed the border, we got caught. We didn’t know there was a police checkpoint coming up. They had a fire in front of them and it was very cold. We went to the fire to warm up and we saw the police coming.

“The police at the border broke my arm. All my friends were also hit in the face.”

Despite the brutality he has faced on the road to Britain before, Sarmand said “any time there is a good opportunity, I will go”.

He added: “I am so afraid of the boats. We went on a tourist boat here in Turkey and I was afraid then.

“I don’t trust smugglers.

“We have seen, and heard of, a lot of cases where smugglers have used boats, or yachts and they have sunk.

“Many people have died. The smugglers have lied to many people.”

The migrants arriving in Istanbul head to “lanes of smugglers” near Aksaray Metro Station.

Iraqi Kurd Ahmed Sadradin, 28, from Sulaymaniyah, added: “You have to be careful. Don’t trust any of them.

“Sometimes they tell you the route to Bulgaria will only be two or three days. It is not. I have tried several times and it took eight days every time.”

Mr Sadradin said he was directed to the cafes used by the smugglers by a facilitator working for the criminal gang.

He added: “Smugglers are gathering there almost every night.

“Last year I was here, and there were lanes of smugglers. There were many of them.”

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