HomeWorld NewsFamily who fled Taliban say they are now attacked by Greek police
Family who fled Taliban say they are now attacked by Greek police
Clasping their two young sons as the Greek police surge towards them, refugees Davood and Tawos Sharifi curse their dreadful fate.
Trapped on the island of Lesbos that has become their prison, the family who fled the Taliban watch as the promise of freedom escapes their grasp in a charge of riot shields and rubber batons.
In the pretty harbour of Mytilini, the island’s capital, refugees from war-torn nations such as Syria and Afghanistan are being rounded up to ensure they do not get any further into Europe.
Ripped off by people-smugglers in Turkey who charged them £3,000 for an illegal three-hour journey across the Aegean Sea in an inflatable dinghy, they have now been tricked again.
As the stand-off simmers, officers force hundreds of refugees on to buses to be taken back to a camp where around 30,000 people live in squalor, unable to move forward or go back.
Davood, 50, says he has been waiting seven months to get his family to the Greek mainland.
Conned into believing Turkey’s promise last week that Europe’s borders would be open, the wait goes on.
His sons Ati, four, and Mohammad, two, are in poor health and exhausted.
Davood says: “We left Afghanistan for our safety a year ago. We left because my two brothers were killed by the Taliban.
“For a month we walked through Iran then Turkey. Imagine that with two kids. Their whole lives have been horrible.
“All the money we have, after giving our savings to the smugglers, is the cost of a ferry ticket to Athens. But they won’t allow us to go there. They won’t give us the stamp on our asylum forms.”
Davood adds: “We all came today because we had been told they were letting people on the ferries. Instead we are being herded by police.
“We came here to escape the Taliban, now the Greek police are coming at us.”
Davood, a farmer in his home village near Herat, and Tawos, 30, left Afghanistan to work and get their lads into school, without the daily threat of terror attacks and torture.
As they herded migrants through the harbour, the officers shouted in English: “Move, move – no papers to Athens.” Greece’s government is forcibly repelling migrants trying to get in, and they are doing their utmost to deter families from staying.
The angry scenes in Mytilini were played out in front of British Border Force ship HMC Valiant, in Lesbos to help with the European effort to stem the flow of illegal immigration.
It comes after vigilante attacks by locals who are fed up of bearing the brunt of this crisis.
Charity workers say they have been attacked. Stones have been thrown at cars going to and from the camp, which covers a hillside far beyond an official zone overseen by the UN. It is claimed there have also been arson attacks on facilities associated with the migrants.
Hundreds of people have arrived on islands here in recent days after Turkey’s President Tayyip Erdogan announced his country was opening its borders.
His ploy was to put pressure on other nations to accept some of the roughly 3.7 million refugees in Turkish camps.