How Minsk became a mecca for migrants travelling as tourists
How Minsk became a mecca for migrants travelling as touristsSULAIMANIYA, Iraq/HAJNOWKA, Poland (Reuters) - When Kamaran Mohammed travelled with his wife and three children to the Belarus capital Minsk last month from their home in northern Iraq, they went as tourists.
A doctor who has been treating injured migrants from Iraq and Syria at a Polish hospital recently went on Kurdish TV to warn people in Iraq not to attempt an illegal immigration path to the European Union through the Belarus-Poland border, after treating migrants attempting the dangerous journey, the Associated Press reported.
Dr. Arsalan Azzaddin, who is originally from Iraq, told the AP he was treating migrants from his homeland and Syria every day. Many of them suffered from hypothermia, pneumonia, broken bones and severe dehydration, he said.
Belarus Border Camp Emptied, Hundreds of Migrants Flown Back to Iraq
Belarusian authorities said that as many as 7,000 migrants remain in the country after more than a week of tensions between it, the migrants and Poland.Belarusian media reported that no more migrants were seen in the makeshift camps. The migrants were either put on flights back to their home countries or allegedly placed in a heated warehouse to protect them from the cold weather.
"I want them not to come. They could die," Azzaddin told the Associated Press on Monday.
After some viewers accused Azzaddin of doing the Polish government's bidding to keep out migrants, he used his second appearance on Kurdish TV to allow his patients to describe their suffering firsthand. He also told Iraqi leaders: "Save those people," he said. "Kurds don't deserve something like this."
Azzaddin said he had been treating an average of two to five migrants in need of urgent treatment daily. One was a 38-year-old Syrian woman who had a miscarriage after she was in the forest for 22 days. She then caught COVID-19 after being taken to the hospital. Border Guard officers took the woman from the hospital on Monday and would not let AP journalists speak to her.
Lukashenko assails EU for refusing to hold talks on migrants
MOSCOW (AP) — Belarus' authoritarian leader on Monday chafed at the European Union for its refusal to hold talks on the influx of migrants on the country's border with Poland. President Alexander Lukashenko urged Germany to accommodate about 2,000 migrants who had remained on the border with Poland and criticized EU officials for refusing to negotiate an end to the standoff. “We must demand that the Germans take them,” Lukashenko said at a meeting with officials.
Days after Azzaddin went on TV, the Iraqi government began taking steps to stop the migration of Iraqis to Belarus. The government stopped flights to Belarus, closed offices that issued travel visas there and sent government planes to bring Iraqis in Belarus back home.
For more reporting from the Associated Press, see below.
EU officials also mounted pressure on Iraq to halt the migration, but Azzaddin is convinced that his appeals on TV, which he said reached 2.5 million viewers, played a significant in stopping the migration.
With Poland's border increasingly sealed, it has gotten harder and harder for migrants at the border. Many are getting trapped in a dank forest of bogs that sees subfreezing temperatures at night. There have been reports of at least a dozen deaths along the border, and Azzaddin believes there are more on the Belarus side, based on his monitoring of social media posts.
Iraq Militias, Seeing Taliban's Success, Plan to Force U.S. Troops Out After Dec. 31
"The Iraqi resistance was earlier than the Afghans in forcing the United States to withdraw from Iraq in 2011, and today the Iraqi resistance is stronger and more numerous," the Hezbollah al-Nujaba Movement spokesperson told Newsweek."The Iraqi resistance was earlier than the Afghans in forcing the United States to withdraw from Iraq in 2011," Nasr al-Shammary, spokesperson for the Hezbollah al-Nujaba Movement, told Newsweek, "and today the Iraqi resistance is stronger and more numerous.
With flights to Belarus from the Mideast coming to a halt, Azzaddin says he believes there are no more migrants in Poland's forest but there are still 2,000 people on the Belarusian side.
Azzaddin, originally from Irbil in the Kurdistan region of Iraq, but has lived in Poland for 40 years, supports the strict Polish approach to migration. He says if Poland were to allow in all the people that Belarus was shepherding to the EU's doorstep, the numbers would only grow and Lukashenko would prevail in his geopolitical standoff against the West.
The problem, he says, should be addressed at its roots. He sharply accuses Iraqi authorities of failing to create conditions where people can have dignified lives.
"You have to ask why people are coming," he said. "The leaders of many countries, of the United States and the European Union, must ask the Iraqi authorities why people are fleeing. These are educated people. They don't have work, they don't have anything to survive on."
He supports immigration, but wants to see it happen in a legal, controlled way.
"We must teach young people that the illegal way is not a good way. If you have an education, look for a job, do it legally," he said. "I am the medical director of this hospital. If 20 doctors wanted to work here, I could give them work tomorrow. But they must fulfill certain requirements. Coming here by risking the death of your family and children is not a good way."
Central European nations back Poland in migration dispute
BUDAPEST, Hungary (AP) — The leaders of three Central European countries on Tuesday expressed their solidarity with Poland in an ongoing migration crisis on its eastern border with Belarus, and urged the European Union to increase its support for the protection of the bloc's external borders. At a news briefing in Hungary's capital of Budapest following talks between the prime ministers of Poland, Hungary, the Czech Republic and Slovakia, Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki said the situation on his country's eastern border went beyond migration.
The EU accuses the authoritarian leader of Belarus, Alexander Lukashenko, of orchestrating the migration in retaliation for sanctions imposed on Belarus over a presidential election in 2020 that was widely viewed as rigged and a harsh government crackdown on peaceful protesters.
Most of the migrants seek to reach Germany or elsewhere in Western Europe. But after 1 million refugees came to the EU in 2015, the bloc has sought to keep out any large new groups of asylum-seekers. The way it has done so, tacitly allowing the pushbacks of migrants and outsourcing migration control to Libya and Turkey, has prompted rights groups to accuse the EU of abetting human rights abuses.
Ukraine Spending $640 Million to Build Fence Along Russian, Belarusian Borders
Lukashenko Tells Germany to Take Nearly 2K Migrants Stuck in Belarus After Poland Crackdown
Belarus Border Camp Emptied, Hundreds of Migrants Flown Back to Iraq
Migrants Removed From Belarus Border Camp by Bus, Deescalating Tensions With Poland
Freezing, Hungry Migrants Trapped Between East and West, Belarus and Poland
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Iraq Seeks Path to Avoid New War with Plan for U.S. 'Combat' Mission to End .
"When we commit forces, how do we set the conditions to not just win the war, but to win the peace post-war?" former U.S. Army cultural advisor for Iraq Adam L. Silverman told Newsweek. "This has been a major issue in almost every major conflict we've found ourselves in."But the anticipated plan is already being met with reservations both by those uncertain of Iraq's ability to tackle threats such as those posed by the Islamic State militant group (ISIS) without hands-on U.S. backing, and those who demand a total U.S. military exit from the country.