Europe may have seen more than a million asylum-seekers crossing the Mediterranean to reach its shores this year, but not all those who entered the region are looking forward to make it their permanent residence. In fact, some have already decided to turn around and settle in the Middle East instead.
The migrants, or at least most of them, do not want residential permits from the European government or desire to dwell in refugee camps set up across the region. Instead, they want a future for themselves, their children and, if the civil war in Syria continues, for the next generation.
Europe has been struggling to deal with the influx of refugees fleeing the wartorn countries. However, once these people reach their new destinations, strict asylum laws coupled with language barriers and cultural differences make it impossible for some to stay. Unimaginable living conditions and lack of water, electricity and medicine merely seals the deal.
“My mother doesn't like it here. She doesn't want to live here anymore,” Aisha al Mohamed, an 18-year-old Syrian refugee who arrived in Uruguay with her mother, told CNN. “She wants to move back to the Middle East, maybe Lebanon or back to Syria.”
Al Mohamed is a makeup artist, but hasn’t managed to find a job yet. Her widow mother wants to return to Syria in spite of the conflict.
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"Practically speaking, I need seven or eight years to start my life here, and that’s an amount of time I am not willing to waste,” said Neal Hamadi, an engineer from Syria's Damascus University who is currently living in a refugee camp in Sweden. “I might go back to Turkey, or to Lebanon. I don’t know exactly. But I will go back to a society that’s a better fit for me.”
Hamadi said that he paid thousands of dollars and put his life at risk for months to reach Sweden in search of a safe future. However, now he has to wait at least a year to get residency and another year for family reunification. His wife and 3-month-old daughter are still in Turkey.
The Syrian engineer isn’t the only one who has concrete plans of leaving Europe.
“I journeyed across half the world, using unlawful measures, to guarantee a better future for my children,” a Syrian woman name Samar who used to live in Aleppo, told The Huffington Post. “After the latest amendments to the migration laws, I have lost this chance. And I definitely won’t stay here without them, and I won’t try to bring them over unlawfully. It’s impossible to even think of that.”
The 32-year-old mother said she spent four days lost in the woods of Macedonia without food and does not want something similar to happen to her children. Apparently, she is also planning to put in a request to revoke her asylum.
At least 7.6 million people have been displaced inside Syria, according to the United Nations Refugee Agency, whereas the war has killed more than 200,000 people.
Adapting to a new life in such distressing conditions is not an easy feat and would definitely take some time, but if the governments and concerned organizations don’t work to assimilate the asylum seekers with their residents, things might not work out for either of the two parties.
Banner and thumbnail credit: Reuters, Alkis Konstantinidis