Last week I took over @OpenSocietyFoundations Instagram account to share images and stories from the exodus from conflicts in Syria, Iraq, and Afghanistan to Europe.
Here are five posts from the week:
the Turkish-Syrian border in Reyhanli, Turkey in February 2012, where children play in a junkyard at the edge of one of the early tent cities to spring up at the start of the Syrian conflict. It is called a tent city and not a refugee camp because Turkey does not recognize the refugees as such but rather as “guests,” so as to avoid providing protection and rights afforded to refugees of armed conflict, such as school and welfare benefits, despite the fact that the Turkish government says it has spent millions providing for the refugees, many now seek to leave Turkey due to the insecurity in such tent cities and their lack of a way forward towards a new life.
The exterior of the Hotel Istanbul on the Turkish-Syrian border town of Kilis, Turkey in April 2013. As events in the war shifted and Aleppo became a contested city, the Gaziantep crossing rather than the Hatay border posts were favored by journalists, jihadis and refugees alike, as was the Hotel Istanbul, whose guests included the murdered US hostage Steven Sotloff just prior to his disappearance and capture by the Islamic State. The Hotel Istanbul is about 10 kilometers from the Syrian border crossing.
Doctor Maja Grubac examines a young Syrian girl complaining of a sore throat as nurse Ana Mitrovic, both of Serbia, looks on at the Refugee Aid Serbia distribution center two blocks from the central train and bus station where many Syrians and other refugees in transit through the West Balkans to attempt a new life in Europe, mainly in Germany, Sweden and Switzerland in Belgrade Serbia. Grubac said most people he saw suffered from blisters, diarrhea, and other ailments resulting from poor hygenic conditions and travel, mainly from walking, fatigue and dehydration.
A young boy with severe acid burns from Afghanistan stands at the end of the food an hygeine line with the goods his family collected at the Refugee Aid Serbia distribution center in Belgrade earlier this month. Behind him are several Syrian families. Refugees mainly from Syria but also Iraq, Iran, and Afghanistan and other countries such as Pakistan and Eritrea have made the journey from Turkey to Greece and through Macedonia before arriving in Serbia on their way to Europe in search of a better life, mainly in Germany, Sweden and Switzerland.
The early morning crowds of refugees waiting to be registered so they can have the chance to apply for asylum appears very early each day nowadays in front of the office of Landesamt für Gesundheit und Soziales (LaGeSo), the State Office for Health and Social Services, in the Moabit district of Berlin earlier this week. Germany is expected to accept 850,000 asylum applicants this year.