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 By: Issam Khoury

Human traffic Nets did not appear as the result of the Syrian revolution, rather these were already existing ones, operating on the Turkish territory for so many years. Anyway; the operating human traffic nets have witnessed two phases of climax:  the first one was after the end of the Iraqi war in 2003, where most of the immigrants were of the Iraqi nationalities, and the method used in the transit was across the Syrian border to Turkey and from Turkey to Athens. This migration continued from 2006 until the end of 2010 and afterwards the stories of the Libyans, Moroccans, and Syrians immigrants has
emerged and strikingly the Iraqi immigrants still follow the exact same way till the present day.

A Syrian refugee child screams inside an overcrowded dinghy after crossing part of the Aegean Sea from Turkey to the Greek island of Lesbos

The majority of immigrants may be divided into the following sections:

           FINANCIALLY WEALTHY FIGURES: some of the Iraqis who benefited from the al-Maliki regime, sought to transfer a lot of their money into gold and jewelry, and traveled from Iraq to Istanbul Airports as tourists and from Istanbul they contacted  with smuggling networks that provided them with proper means of movement towards Europe. However; wealthy Syrians have a greater ease of movement towards Turkey, who are of both the opposition and the regime parties, those two parties seek various ways to enter to Europe for the sake of a safe life, and their main task is in transferring their money to Europe, and here starts the role of the mega financial smuggling networks that are controlled by the Russian Mafia.


On the other hand; there is a group of immigrants who are  residents in the Persian Gulf and those mostly get a touristic travel visa from European or American or Canadian embassies, and as soon as they arrive in Europe, they begin their asylum procedures, mainly on the pretext  that the Arab or Persian Gulf does not provide stability or even does not provide nationality to the Syrians or the Iraqis working there.

   Poor figures They are also divided into several parts:

           Kurds: Any Kurdish family definitely has relatives either in Germany or Belgium or Austria, and   those are the ones who facilitate the transfer of their relatives from Athens towards the Western European countries, where they simply send their passports to their relatives in Athens so that the illegal immigrant uses the passport of his cousin, who looks like his face. Actually most of the immigrants are of the Kurds, and they generally look alike to a large extent which indeed complicates the inspection task for the airport officers.

        Arabs: Most of the Syrian and Iraqi Arabs easily cross the Syrian-Turkish border, and despite the new security procedures pursued by the Turks, yet the process of penetrating the border is still quite possible, and may take place even without any coordination with the smuggling networks , where the Turkish relatives living on the Syrian bordering towns cooperate and provide help to their relatives through facilitating the entry of the illegal immigrants across the fence to Turkey through providing the Syrian side  with the movement of the Turkish Customs and Ganderma ( BORDER GUARDS) across the border.

Syrian refugees on a dinghy drift in the Aegean sea off the Greek island of Kos in Greece

The Greek island of Kos, August 11, 2015. REUTERS/Yannis Behrakis

         Non-Arab Nationalities:  Many residents from regions of  Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iran, sought obtaining fake Syria passports and claimed being Syrians to get asylum in Europe, and overall the whole process of getting those fake passports is not at all a very complicated one, since the majority of smuggling networks are historically linked with the Syrian intelligence ,who in turn initiate  printing the image and full information of anyone on a Syrian document and send them in return of a sum of money that varies between $ 2000 to 9000 as a price, and this occurs according to the smuggling network and the speed the job is done, some smugglers were able to get the seals of the Syrian government after spreading control over the directorate affair offices in Raqqa ,Deir ez-Zor , Hasaka and Aleppo, where they started  printing and selling , on their own, not only such passports, but also copies of individual civil records, statements of (not convicted), or personal identity Cards,”, of course, each document has a certain price and the prices are always subject to bargaining․

          THE ROAD TOWARDS EUROPE: A lot of Syrians and Iraqis are seen in Street cafes on Taksim street, those who attract smuggling or trafficking nets  which usually send young men to get to know them, and  after the Syrian or the Iraqi narrates his tragedy, the young man shows sympathy to them and calls for someone to walk with him, and they talk about the idea of seeking to find people who can help them to travel to Europe as their only way of salvation, of course, a lot of these young people may be swindlers, but another group  of them is part of a smuggling system, that carefully chooses the proper time and place to travel, on condition that the money is not paid until they reach Athens.

Syrian refugee struggles to get off an overcrowded dinghy as refugees and migrants arrive in rough sea on the Greek island of Lesbos, after crossing a part of the Aegean Sea from the Turkish coast

The Greek island of Lesbos, after crossing a part of the Aegean Sea from the Turkish coast, October 2, 2015. REUTERS/Dimitris Michalakis

TRAVEL ROUTES FROM ISTANBUL: the illegal immigrant might travel from Ataturk Airport in Istanbul after receiving a false passport , which might be a Portuguese or a French passport , with a cost that approximately reaches 15 000 dollars, or the passport may be Mexican , in case the destination was towards the United States and then the cost of such a passport may reach to 20  or 25 thousand dollars.

TRAVELING BY SEA: since mid-2015 there has been a cease in the movement of the yachts transporting illegal immigrants because of sanctions imposed by the Turkish government on them, and the best way to smuggling networks has become through using a rubber boat that has a motor and the most common way is from Izmir area towards three Greek Islands and Perhaps the most known is Korres Island, and the cost of movement across this boat ranges between $ 1100-800 per person . However, in general, traveling is not preferred in periods of rough seas, and that is why throughout the winter months the flow of immigrants will be limited, because traveling in such a season is considered as an adventure, whereas; some of the smuggling networks are , till the present date, depend on using yachts ,with a cost that ranges between 2500-3000 dollars, on condition that the yacht does not dock on the Greek beaches, but the rubber boat is blown on the board of the yacht and before reaching the beach, immigrants ride it and head towards the beach. Some of those who traveled in a similar manner assume that It is likely that yacht owners are coordinating their movements with the Turkish and Greek security officers. However; the actual duration of traveling by a rubber boat does not exceed 45 minutes.

A refugee tries to stand up after falling into the sea as Syrian and Iraqi refugees arrive on a raft on a beach on the Greek island of Lesbos

Iraqi refugees arrive on a raft on a beach on the Greek island of Lesbos, January 1, 2016. REUTERS/Giorgos Moutafis

From Greece towards Europe:

as soon as the migrants reach the Greek islands, the Greek authorities move them towards Athens, , and some of them continue coordinating with smuggling networks that take the initiative to move them through another sea route from Greece to Italy, in return of a financial cost of 6,500 euros, in addition to the transportation fees from the Greek islands to Athens, at a cost of nearly a thousand euros.

But this road has become way too expensive when compared to other easier ways such as the follows:

          Traveling from Airports in Athens: where the illegal immigrant receives a forged and fake passport at a cost ranging between 2500-3000 euros, which contains the seal of one of the European countries and then the photo of the passport is changed or another passport that belongs to one of his relatives who looks like him is adopted. However; all smugglers keep on alerting immigrants of the necessity of not causing suspicion while dealing with the airport officers and the need of smiling all the time. Even when the  Greek officer discovers a passport forgery , the only procedure to be taken is the expulsion of migrants from the airport where he seeks getting another passport from another smuggler․ Generally;  smugglers are too many in Greece and they move in a rather noticeable manner in front of hotels and in cafes and talk freely, which gives the impression that the Greek government ignores them or they are a part of public corruption Movement in Greece. Moreover; some Christianity cases those who revealed their fake passports at the airport have been overlooked by the airport officers and traveled to Europe․

        Traveling by road: the vast majority pursues this way for being relatively cheap in cost where the transportation fees from Greece to Macedonia and Serbia are close to 10 euros by bus, and as they reach the borders of Macedonia, the government takes the initiative to transport them by buses to the Austrian border. Or they travel by bus at a cost of nearly 40 euros to reach Germany, which is currently the favorite country of immigrants and the whole travelling process approximately takes 12 hours.

A Syrian refugee cries as she carries her baby walking through the mud to cross the border from Greece into Macedonia during a rainstorm

Near the Greek village of Idomeni, September 10, 2015. REUTERS/Yannis Behrakis

The train might also be used as a means t travel at a cost of nearly 200 euros and sometimes immigrant may get a train ticket at a lower cost if booked via the Internet at a cost of 120 euros. Many of the relatives of illegal immigrants take immediate initiative actions in booking a seat on a train or a bus from the moment of the arrival of migrants to the Greek territory, since the most dangerous part is only the one operated at sea.

A Syrian refugee holds her baby next to a bonfire as she waits to cross the Greek-Macedonian border, near the village of Idomeni

the Greek-Macedonian border, near the village of Idomeni, Greece, January 21, 2016. REUTERS/Alexandros Avramidis

    Procedures to Regulate immigration:

As long as the Assad regime and the terrorist groups are present on the Syrian and Iraqi territory, immigration justification will never stop or end, since Both are criminals threatening the safety of civilians, and all the security measures taken in cooperation by both the Europeans along with the Turks would prove being inadequate and unsuccessful, due to the fact that the Turkish-Syrian borders are very long, moreover; the decision of the Turkish government which is going to be applied on January 8, 2016 to impose visa on the entrance of the Syrians, would only be applied by the wealthy or those who have touristic intentions indeed. As for the rest of the Syrians and the Iraqis they are quite able to breach the border and access by road to the main smuggling points, and the new measures might only lead to increasing the costs on the illegal immigrant.


Moreover and heading out of my own perspective, I hope if European governments initiate a law prohibiting the reception of illegitimate immigrants by the beginning of 2016, and organizes the operations of exclusive reception of refugees registered in the Higher commissions for displaced people in Lebanon, Jordan and Turkey, for those are the ones of most urgent humanitarian need, and the majority of the illegal immigrants took the places of those registered at the commissions. Furthermore; the figures who immigrated illegally are personalities associated with criminal named as ” international smuggling networks” to regulate the mechanism of their travel, and unfortunately, governments of Europe take into consideration those who have been associated with criminals and neglect those who have committed to the international law and to the Commissioners of refugees!


You can see this report in this link

An aerial view shows the Zaatari refugee camp near the Jordanian city of Mafraq, some 8 kilometers from the Jordanian-Syrian border. 03/02/2016. BBC News
An aerial view shows the Zaatari refugee camp near the Jordanian city of Mafraq, some 8 kilometers from the Jordanian-Syrian border. 03/02/2016. BBC News


تأسس المركز عام 2003 في سوريا بجهود عدد من الكتاب والباحثين العرب، ثم توسع في نشاطه وعمله يغطي غالبية دول الشرق الاوسط وشمالي افريقيا، وفي عام 2015 بادرت ادارة المركز لاعادة هيكلة فريقها وتاسيس فريق عمل ينشط من نيويورك في الولايات المتحدة لهدف خدمة منطقة الشرق الاوسط وشمالي افريقيا The Center for Environmental and Social Development demonstrates a commitment to social justice through investigative journalism and human rights implementation. We strive to bring democratic change to the Middle East and North Africa. Emerging from a range of fields including philanthropy, political science, law, human rights, and medicine, we embrace collaboration in order to support peaceful and stable democratic movements across the MENA Region. Our efforts contribute to the foundation’s mission of creating a new culture in the region which is mainly based on the values of citizenship, democracy, and coexistence.

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