Syrians fleeing war start to trickle into Europe

September 4, 2012 01:12


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KOPINGEBRO, Sweden - Ali Jamal travelled thousands of miles on foot, by train and road to flee violence in Syria while Jomaah piled his family into a camper van to smuggle them north to Europe.

They have now reached safety in Sweden, some of the growing thousands of Syrians who are evading the European Union's frontier controls to escape the turmoil of the past 18 months.

That is raising calls for a more focused European response to a refugee crisis that has seen over 200,000 Syrians flee to Jordan, Iraq, Lebanon and, especially, Turkey. From there, a determined, and usually richer, few press on to the EU borders, mainly into Greece, with most hoping for asylum further north.

Sweden alone, 2,500 km (1,500 miles) from Turkey's European frontier, is expecting 17,000 Syrians to show up seeking refuge this year and next, reflecting a sharply rising trend across the continent; barely a tenth of that number reached Sweden in the first half of this year - itself a marked increase on 2011.

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