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Lebanon

Forged documents on the border

Thursday, December 24, 2015 - 00:53

As refugees try to reach western Europe, Syrians fleeing war complain about difficulties because of the increased number of forged documents. Rough Cut-subtitled (no reporter narration).

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BROADCAST AND DIGITAL RESTRICTIONS~**Broadcasters: NONE Digital: NONE *~ ROUGH CUT (NO REPORTER NARRATION) STORY: As the flow of refugees into western Europe via the Balkan route continues at a steady rate of about 3,000 people per day, Syrians fleeing the war complain that their situation has been made even more difficult in recent weeks because of an increased number of expertly forged or stolen Syrian documents used by non-Syrian migrants hoping to reach Europe. The pressure on migrants to use forgeries increased as Balkan countries began filtering the flow of people in November, granting passage to those fleeing conflicts in Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan but blocking the entry to others from Africa and Asia. Since the measure was introduced, hundreds were turned away at the Macedonia-Greek border. "So, the police, the border police here is checking closely all the documents and whenever they see fake documents, then, these people are returned to Greece," said Barbara Colzi, an UNHCR officer working at the camp near Gevgelija. Syrians already housed in a temporary camp only hundreds of meters inside Macedonian territory say the situation makes their goal of reaching western European countries even more difficult, as the rise in numbers of forgeries causes stricter border controls and overcrowding. Syrian passports are highly sought after in Lebanon and Turkey, countries that most migrants arriving to the Balkans pass through on their way to Greece, and the price of fake documents is rumored to be between 1,000 and 3,000 euros on the black market. More than 1 million refugees and migrants came to the European Union this year, while almost 3,700 died or went missing in perilous journeys which reaped huge profit for smugglers, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) said earlier this week.

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Forged documents on the border

Thursday, December 24, 2015 - 00:53