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AYS Daily Digest 28/2/2020: Stuck in No Man’s Land

Refugees head towards the border // Fascism on the rise in Serbia // Family faces deportation after 15 years in Sweden

Greece / Turkey Border Situation

On Thursday evening, Turkey ordered police, coast guard and border patrol officers to stand down in response to the deaths of more than 33 soldiers by Russian-backed Syrian Government forces. On Friday, reports poured in about refugees making their way to the border, sometimes even assisted by the Turkish government.

In response to questions regarding the Turkish government’s position on the situation, the spokesman of the Turkish Justice and Development Party, Omar Jilick said:

“Our policies about the refugees didn’t change but we can’t from now on control their movements.”

The exact number and makeup of the travelling refugees still cannot be verified, as reports about how many are on the move are conflicting and subject to exaggeration. However, it seems as of last night around 150 refugees from Syria, Iran, Afghanistan, and Palestine were trapped in the border region, specifically between Edirne and the Greek border. This area is being called a sort of no man’s land, where there is nothing but sprawling fields and darkness. Some on the ground have reported that refugees wishing to return to Istanbul are facing resistance from Turkish forces. Prevented from returning to Istanbul and prevented from entering Greece, these refugees seem to be stuck in no man’s land as tensions on all sides rise.

Reports coming through social media showed what appeared to be Greek authorities firing teargas at refugees.

The news around the situation is troubling for two reasons: 1) The Greek authorities’ use of teargas on refugees at the border is inhumane and puts lives at risk 2) Trapping refugees in the border region with no option to move will only increase tensions and further endanger everyone present. Turkey seems to be playing with refugees’ lives in order to fulfill its political ambitions of garnering Western support against the Syrian regime and in doing so is putting many at risk.

In response to Turkey’s declaration, NATO members called for an urgent briefing on the situation yesterday and the US State Department announced it is considering providing assistance to Turkey.

In its own response, Greece has reportedly sent backup troops to the border and has supposedly closed the entire border not just for refugees, but for everyone.

In response to the declaration, local Greek media reported an increase of sea arrivals today. It must be noted, however, that this is probably unfounded information, as the numbers of arrivals seem to be similar to those on any other day.

For more information on the border situation in Arabic: للمزيد من المعلومات باللغة العربية


No Name Kitchen has been reporting more and more often about rising fascist sentiments in Serbia. Today their car was vandalized by angry locals.


A Lebanese family which has been living in Sweden since 2004 will be deported back to that country. The family originally fled because of political persecution and even changed their names once they arrived in Sweden.

The daughter, Sofia, aged 14, was born in Sweden and if she is deported it will be to a country she does not call home. The case of the family has sparked a lot of reactions on social media and a petition was started which now has more than 8000 signatures. The 26-year-old son, Pierre, finished school in Sweden and is now working.

Their case is now pending before the Migration Court of Appeal.

Read More Here


The UN chief António Guterres described the current displacement crisis in and around Idlib and the escalation in fighting between Turkish and Russian-backed Syrian forces, as “one of the most alarming moments” of the nearly decade-long war.

“Without urgent action, the risk of even greater escalation grows by the hour. And as always, civilians are paying the gravest price.”

The UN reports that even safe zones such as IDP camps and shelters where displaced families have sought refuge have been struck by shelling.

The most pressing need now is an immediate ceasefire before the situation gets entirely out of control.”

WHO Spokesperson Christian Lindmeier also described the situation as “mayhem.”

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Daily news digests from the field, mainly for volunteers and refugees on the route, but also for journalists and other parties.

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Are You Syrious?

News digests from the field, mainly for volunteers and people on the move, but also for journalists, decision makers and other parties.