This article discusses the 2015 European migrant crisis and how Syrian refugees cross borders into Europe. – In 2015, the number of refugees and migrants coming to Europe increased significantly due to the ongoing Syrian refugee crisis. That year alone, 1.3 million people requested asylum in Europe, though many were rejected by large majorities. Despite this disapproval, refugees have made a strong push for entry into Europe since the beginning of World War II and especially in the past year since World War II ended. Although European governments have implemented reforms to handle the influx of refugees, arrivals numbers have receded recently despite the significant increase in movement. This is likely due to stricter immigration policies implemented by various European nations as well as increased security on their borders.

This has caused a surge in refugees attempting to cross into Europe, with many fleeing wars and other conflicts that are plaguing their homeland. In 2019, the world’s international migrants totaled an estimated 35 million people. Of these, refugees accounted for about 25 million. This number is expected to grow in 2020 due to the ongoing conflict in Syria and other countries. The European Union, along with Germany, is one of the main countries taking more asylum seekers than the European average. The EU has since implemented policies to help disperse refugees across different countries, including Germany itself.

However, with 3.7 million Syrian refugees, the EU has also had to grapple with the challenge of sheltering them. Despite strong border enforcement, worrying signs such as overcrowded camps and refugee boats making dangerous journeys remain. Migrants take a difficult journey through many countries in order to seek asylum in Europe. This increases security risks for both refugees and other countries along the way. Not only are Syrians crossing borders into Europe, but Afghan refugees as well, who have been pushed into an inhospitable situation by Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan. The situation was worsened by Turkey’s inability to support its refugee population in terms of housing or work. This has caused many Syrians and Afghans to leave Turkey for other countries such as Iraq and Greece in search of better opportunities and safety from violence and persecution.

The Covid-19 pandemic has only compounded the difficulty of making this journey. In response to the pandemic, Turkey has closed its borders with Greece and other EU countries, leaving thousands of refugees stranded on the Turkish side. This has frustrated EU leaders who have been dealing with a longstanding threat of irregular migration from Turkey. The pandemic compelled Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan to suspend asylum procedures and threatened to open his country’s borders with Europe unless he received more support from the EU in dealing with the refugee crisis. This triggered a major humanitarian crisis as refugees began streaming towards Europe in search of safety and security. This coincided with panic among European nations over an influx of migrants and refugees during the pandemic, prompting them to close their borders in response.

The majority of refugees entering Europe have been coming from Syria, and they have sought to do so by traveling along the Balkan route. Unfortunately, this has made dangerous sea crossings necessary, often through the Aegean Sea in order to reach Greece. The European Union has attempted to prevent refugees from entering Europe by constructing border fences along Turkey’s land border with Greece and Bulgaria and by attempting to gain cooperation from Turkey in preventing refugee flows. Despite these efforts, vast numbers of refugees have still managed to arrive in large numbers through the eastern Mediterranean route since 2015. Although the EU has attempted to block their entry, a vast majority of them have still passed through Turkey and crossed over into Europe via the Aegean Sea or other routes such as Bulgaria and Romania. In 2020, despite all efforts to prevent refugee flows, thousands of people managed to make it across the Mediterranean route into Europe.

This was largely due to the complex geography of the region, with Europe’s vast majority of asylum seekers coming from Syria. According to data from the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR), in 2020 alone over 1 million refugees made it into Europe and were registered by the respective host countries. Of those refugees, a whopping 85% were Syrian, making up the vast majority of asylum seekers. The countries hosting these refugees are tasked with examining each individual asylum claim and must adhere to European Union rules when doing so. The European Union also dictates how many refugees should be accepted by each country and which type of refugee should be given priority for resettlement processes. When a refugee arrives in an EU member state, they are then directed to an appropriate country based on these rules and regulations. Germany has been accepting a high number of Syrian asylum seekers as well as providing aid to neighboring Greece who has had to bear the brunt of dealing with most refugee arrivals in 2020.

The European Union has been working to develop a common asylum system that will support European countries in receiving and supporting refugees, while focusing on the core interests of Europe. The UNHCR is also working to reduce the unauthorized inflow of refugees by helping to establish fair prospects for their return home and making sure that any returns are voluntary and sustainable. The UNHCR is also looking at how it can focus on those already living in Europe, such as Syrian people, to help improve their moving prospects. The Syrian government has also worked with international bodies like the UNHCR to allow for safe refugee returns from European countries back home, though this has been a slow process.

For those wishing to stay in Europe, dangerous migration avenues are increasingly used by criminal networks to help migrants reach EU territory. Greece has been the main entry point, as many refugees and migrants seek to reach the mainland of Europe, risking their lives in the process. Many try to cross borders illegally, evading authorities and ignoring calls for them to use legal channels. With limited help availability and often met with water cannons and tear gas by trying authorities, these migrants often have no choice but to take these risks.

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