On 'Mount Syria', in the Aegean island of Samos in Greece, the majority of the 7,000+ refugees are facing a cold winter living in tents and shacks having fled war-zones.
Since the decidedly nefarious EU-Turkey refugee deal in early 2016, that loosely involved 'illegal arrivals' on EU shores being swapped for Syrian refugees in Turkey and 1.5 billion Euros aid for Greece. The whereabouts of that money is now being investigated and the terms of that deal have collapsed. Although the numbers of those entering the EU dropped massively in 2016/17, the recent surge arriving on the Greek islands created another desperate humanitarian crisis.
With almost all of the EU countries now having closed their borders, the Greek authorities are now struggling to cope as the newest wave of Syrian Kurds land on their shores after at least a month overland from northern Syria.
The island of Samos is just 600 meters from Turkey at the narrowest point and fast-becoming, along with Lesvos, the preferred EU entry point for refugees from Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan and Africa. Some 2,500 landed on Samos by inflatable boat from Turkey in Oct and November 2019. This sudden uptick in arrivals has now clogged the already ponderous asylum process so almost all of the 88,000 refugees who are currently on the Greek islands are likely stuck for months and possibly years to come.
In Samos, the original 650 bed settlement, a former army camp, has now ballooned to 7,000+ with most of those now living in the olive groves outside the fenced camp. Conditions are rough and squalid. Many are desperately sick as the winter conditions harden and Greek authorities and local doctors deny hospital visits for newly-arrived refugees.
Since October 2019 and the infamous Trump/Erdogan phone call on the Turkish/Syria border issues, and resulting Turkish offensive, the numbers of Syrian Kurds has risen dramatically on Samos. These tired and often sick refugees are now struggling to make a home on 'Mount Syria' on the hillside above Samos Town.
(Available on Getty Images)