Saturday, November 27, 2021

Young Syrian found dead on the border between Belarus and Poland when British troops were deployed in “support”

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The death toll of migrants attempting to cross the Belarusian border into the EU is now at least nine

The body of a young Syrian was found in a forest near the border with Belarus, the Polish police said. The man, around 20 years old, is the youngest victim of a worsening political crisis on the European Union’s eastern border.

The man was found dead near the village of Wolka Terechowska on Friday, bringing the death toll to at least nine trying to cross the Belarusian border into the EU.

According to the police, the exact cause of death has not yet been determined, an autopsy will be carried out.

The EU has accused President Alexander Lukashenko of promoting illegal migration across its border into Poland, Lithuania and Latvia. All three countries are strengthening their borders and trying to block the newly opened migration route, but the journey becomes more treacherous as winter sets in.

Many of the migrants come from Syria, Iraq or elsewhere in the Middle East in hopes of escaping the conflict and leading a better life in Europe.

The crisis creates another point of tension between the West and Belarus and thus also with its closest ally: Russia.

This week, Russia sent nuclear-capable strategic bombers and paratroopers to patrol Belarus to demonstrate its support. Russian President Vladimir Putin denied allegations that he was involved in creating the flow of refugees to Europe.

“I want everyone to know that we have nothing to do with it. Everyone tries to impose some kind of responsibility on us for whatever reason and for no reason, ”Putin said in excerpts from an interview with state television that is due to be broadcast on Sunday.

“Is it Belarus that pioneered these problems or what? No, these are causes created by Western countries themselves, including European countries, ”Putin added.

The situation shows no signs of cooling. Belarusian state news agency Belta reported that on Saturday Lukashenko ordered the military to set up tents at the border where food and other humanitarian aid could be collected and distributed to the migrants.

On Saturday, the Polish border protection agency announced that Belarusian soldiers had started to destroy a temporary border barrier near the Polish village of Czeremcha and that they had blinded the Polish security services with laser beams.

A group of around 100 migrants was waiting nearby to cross the border, said the Polish border guards. “The Belarusians provided the foreigners with tear gas, which was used for the Polish services,” said the border guards, saying that the Poles had stopped attempting to cross.

Many of the incidents reported at the border are very difficult to verify. Independent journalists are reaching limits in their reporting in Belarus, and a state of emergency in the Polish border zone prevents media from entering the area.

After the major migration to Europe in 2015, Europe strengthened its borders to prevent the arrival of more migrants and refugees. Yet every year tens of thousands try to get on board and go on dangerous journeys by land and water.

In the past few months, however, thousands have been lured by a seemingly new and easier way to get to Europe via Belarus.

The EU accuses Lukashenko of creating the artificial route to retaliate for sanctions against his regime imposed after a 2020 election that was widely viewed as flawed and a crackdown on internal dissent that followed.

Additional reporting by agencies

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