Escape from Yarmouk: A family’s journey to Germany from hell on Earth in Syria

Vice News reports: As the train packed with refugees left Budapest’s Keleti station in the direction of Austria, only one family remained on the platform. “We couldn’t buy tickets because we don’t have any money, armed thieves took everything from us,” said Tarek al-Hajj Khalil, a Palestinian from the Yarmouk refugee camp in Damascus, Syria.

The 19-year-old refugee sat flanked by his five sisters: Nour, 18, Reem, 17, Rama, 16, Raneem, 15, Bayan, 4, and her twin brother Aamer. The group arrived the night before after being released from a Hungarian detention facility, and looked to continue onward to Germany, where they hope to receive asylum.

“Everything is broken from the trip,” Tarek said as he banged away at a Samsung phone with a cracked screen and missing battery cover.

He tried desperately to reach his brother Mustafa, who had crossed into Austria three days earlier with their mother. The family became separated after they were robbed on the Serbia-Hungary border. Thieves took nearly $5,000 in cash, and now the family had only $1,000 left hidden on one of Tarek’s sisters. A smuggler demanded exactly that much to drive his mother and brother Mustafa to Budapest after they crossed into Hungary. [Continue reading…]

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