Migrant Crisis Background: Travel Arrangements That Lead to Hybrid Warfare – WorldGerman

Iraqi travel agents say the deal started after Belarusian President Lukashenko said in June that he would not prevent migrants and drugs from entering Europe.


Source: Jutarnji List

EPA-EFE / LEONID SCHEGLOV

The regime’s anger in Belarus over the European sanctions has allowed the Iraqi travel agents and smugglers to generate incredible funds that could attract a large number of clients who want an easy trip to Europe, where they believe that work and a good life are waiting for them . reports “The Telegraph”.

Travel agencies are offering Iraqis and Syrians a package deal to travel to Belarus, with advertisements indicating that they can travel to Europe and look for work.

The ads posted on social networks are designed to make the trip seem legitimate and promise uninterrupted travel, emphasizing that passengers will be issued a seven-day tourist visa to Belarus.

In a recent post on Facebook, the travel agent said it was bringing people to Europe “the conventional way”.

“European airlines alone need 1.2 million refugees. Take the opportunity. Pay us on arrival,” says the announcement, which was later deleted after it attracted media attention, reports “Jutarnji list”.

Who are the customers?

In Shiladze, an Iraqi Kurdish city, a travel agent told Reuters last month that it had sold packages to 200 people since it started business in late spring.

Almost 400 people from the area of ​​this city, where 40,000 people live, have already arrived in Belarus this year, and more of them are leaving every day, according to a local journalist.

“Many of my relatives and friends have gone this route. And many others want to do the same,” Abdullah Omar, a 38-year-old hairdresser from Shiladze, told Reuters.

“People sold their houses or cars to be able to afford it.” Many in the city cite the poor economic situation and the conflict between Turkey and the banned Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which is active in the region, as the reason for leaving.

“Our area is surrounded, it is in the hands of the PKK and the Turks. Our region is beautiful, but we are scared and do not believe that we will stay here, ”Halkaft Muhammad, a resident of Shiladze, told Reuters that his 19-year-old son arrived in Germany in September.

Flights

Initially, passengers flew directly from Iraq to Minsk on Iraqi Airways and Fly Baghdad flights.

But in August the European Union put pressure on Iraq to suspend direct flights and travel agents started selling stopovers to Dubai or Turkey. Passengers who use their passports and regularly fly commercial flights report that entry into Europe is legal if they have a Belarusian visa. Travel can cost more than 9,000 euros, taking into account flights and smuggling across the EU border, say the providers of package deals.

Once in Minsk, passengers are transported in black Mercedes vans to three- and four-star hotels in the Belarusian capital, according to the Lithuanian national electronic media LRT English.

While they are waiting to be transferred to the border, migrants are being supplied with food in Belarusian shopping malls.

Arrival in Minsk and transition to the EU

They buy cheap tents, sleeping bags, winter clothes, rubber boots and thick gloves to protect their hands from the barbed wire on the fences at the border, reports Polish television Belsat.

These groups are always accompanied by a translator when shopping, according to the Belarusian channel in the social media telegram. After waiting several days in Minsk, the passengers are transported for several hours to the border with Poland, Lithuania or Latvia, from where they try to cross the EU on foot, sometimes under the guidance of Belarusian border guards.

Sometimes they walk through the forest for hours before reaching the border. Many were told they would be picked up and taken to Germany or France, but most were arrested by European border guards.

By the time they are intercepted, many migrants are disposing of their documents, Lithuanian Deputy Interior Minister Arnoldas Abramavicius told the Washington Post, adding 75 percent said they were from Iraq.

About Scott Bertsch

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