BALKANS TRANSIT

"You have to enter the shadow. Silence is your ticket." Whispers a Greek militant to 200 Syrians, right before they illegally cross the border between Greece and Macedonia. The field smells of hay, and peppermint, mixed with the anxious thrill known to migrants. Among the group tonight, are Ahmad, Jihan their 2 children and niece. They fled Syria 7 months ago, to set foot in Europe on the first day of summer. We met them on June the 21st, when they reached Kos Island rescued from their overloaded dinghy by the Greek coastguards.

 

It took the family a month, door to door, to reach a small village of Southern Sweden, where Ahmad meet again with is sister in tears after a 2-year separation.

 

They made the journey among a group of Syrian travellers from all religious, and political side: Christians, Alawi minority, Sunni, Palestinians… We followed them all the way, smuggling themselves through 4000 km, 8 borders and 9 countries. Their story comes as a portrayal of the Syrian exodus.

Kos, June 7, 2015
From January to mid-August, 30000 migrants arrived without visas on Kos island, Greece.

Kos, June 7, 2015 From January to mid-August, 30000 migrants arrived without visas on Kos island, Greece.

Kos, June 21, 2015.
Ahmad and Jihan set foot on Kos with their 2 children and their niece of the first day of summer.

Kos, June 21, 2015. Ahmad and Jihan set foot on Kos with their 2 children and their niece of the first day of summer.

Kos, July 1, 2015.
Jihan and her son Caesar are about to get from the pressed police their temporary residence permit. They had to wait for 10 days to get a document that will allow them to leave the island.

Kos, July 1, 2015. Jihan and her son Caesar are about to get from the pressed police their temporary residence permit. They had to wait for 10 days to get a document that will allow them to leave the island.

Kos, July 1, 2015.

Kos, July 1, 2015.

Kos, June 27, 2015.
The family is cooking a daily meal for more than 20 people to break the fast.

Kos, June 27, 2015. The family is cooking a daily meal for more than 20 people to break the fast.

Kos, June 22, 2015.
Jihan's family has traveled with another 20 Syrians. They chose to support each other. They randomly represent a devided Syria.

Kos, June 22, 2015. Jihan's family has traveled with another 20 Syrians. They chose to support each other. They randomly represent a devided Syria.

Kos, July 2, 2015.
Ahmad and Jihan are going to the ferry navigating to the Greek continent after a 10 days wait.

Kos, July 2, 2015. Ahmad and Jihan are going to the ferry navigating to the Greek continent after a 10 days wait.

Athens, July 3, 2015.
After sleeping on the ferry, the family discovers the greek capitale.

Athens, July 3, 2015. After sleeping on the ferry, the family discovers the greek capitale.

Athens, July 3, 2015.
The group arrives in the port of the Greek capitale to start the journey throughout the Balkans.

Athens, July 3, 2015. The group arrives in the port of the Greek capitale to start the journey throughout the Balkans.

Athens, July 3, 2015.

Athens, July 3, 2015.

Athena, July 4, 2015.
The group is going on a bus to Thessaloniki, the last city where they are allowed to travel before the border area.

Athena, July 4, 2015. The group is going on a bus to Thessaloniki, the last city where they are allowed to travel before the border area.

Athena, July 4, 2015.
In the bus towards Thessaloniki.

Athena, July 4, 2015. In the bus towards Thessaloniki.

Thessaloniki, July 4, 2015.
Jihan spends the night outside of the bus station because she is waiting, with her group for a smuggler to travel North. the Syrians are not allowed to travel to the border areas so they use traffickers' fast cars.

Thessaloniki, July 4, 2015. Jihan spends the night outside of the bus station because she is waiting, with her group for a smuggler to travel North. the Syrians are not allowed to travel to the border areas so they use traffickers' fast cars.

Thessaloniki, July 5, 2015.
Jihan spends the night outside of the bus station because she is waiting, with her group for a smuggler to travel North. the Syrians are not allowed to travel to the border areas so they use traffickers' fast cars.

Thessaloniki, July 5, 2015. Jihan spends the night outside of the bus station because she is waiting, with her group for a smuggler to travel North. the Syrians are not allowed to travel to the border areas so they use traffickers' fast cars.

Thessaloniki, July 5, 2015.
The family is waiting for a smuggler's driver to take them to the border area where they are not allowed to go to.

Thessaloniki, July 5, 2015. The family is waiting for a smuggler's driver to take them to the border area where they are not allowed to go to.

Evzoni, July 5, 2015.
the traffickers car dropped Ahmad, Jihan and their children in the border area. They paid 200 € each to go across 80 km.

Evzoni, July 5, 2015. the traffickers car dropped Ahmad, Jihan and their children in the border area. They paid 200 € each to go across 80 km.

Evzoni, July 5, 2015.
Ahmad and Jihan join a group of about 200 migrants to go across the border with Macedonia. Greek militants have just given them a direction to avoid police and bandits.

Evzoni, July 5, 2015. Ahmad and Jihan join a group of about 200 migrants to go across the border with Macedonia. Greek militants have just given them a direction to avoid police and bandits.

Bogoroditsa, July 6, 2015.

Bogoroditsa, July 6, 2015.

Bogoroditsa, July 6, 2015.

Bogoroditsa, July 6, 2015.

Bogoroditsa, July 6, 2015.
Jihan, exhausted by her son's weight, lets Omar carries him to go across the border area inside Macedonia. If the police catch them her, they will be pushed-back into Greek territories.

Bogoroditsa, July 6, 2015. Jihan, exhausted by her son's weight, lets Omar carries him to go across the border area inside Macedonia. If the police catch them her, they will be pushed-back into Greek territories.

Bogoroditsa, July 6, 2015.
The group just left the border area from where they could have been pushed-back. They are going towards the police station of Gevgelia to obtain transit papers for Macedonia.

Bogoroditsa, July 6, 2015. The group just left the border area from where they could have been pushed-back. They are going towards the police station of Gevgelia to obtain transit papers for Macedonia.

Bogoroditsa, July 6, 2015.

Bogoroditsa, July 6, 2015.

Gevgelia, July 6, 2015.

Gevgelia, July 6, 2015.

Gevgelia, July 6, 2015.
About 20 more migrants joined Ahmad's group. In July, they were about 200 to go across the border irregularly everyday.

Gevgelia, July 6, 2015. About 20 more migrants joined Ahmad's group. In July, they were about 200 to go across the border irregularly everyday.

Gevgelia, July 6, 2015.

Gevgelia, July 6, 2015.

Gevgelia, July 6, 2015.

Gevgelia, July 6, 2015.

Gevgelia, July 6, 2015.

Gevgelia, July 6, 2015.

Gevgelia, July 6, 2015.

Gevgelia, July 6, 2015.

Gevgelia, July 6, 2015.

Gevgelia, July 6, 2015.

Gevgelia, July 6, 2015.

Gevgelia, July 6, 2015.

Gevgelia, July 6, 2015.

Gevgelia, July 6, 2015.

Gevgelia, July 6, 2015.
Ahmad is waiting on a train platform with few hundreds migrants to receive their 3-days residence permit.

Gevgelia, July 6, 2015. Ahmad is waiting on a train platform with few hundreds migrants to receive their 3-days residence permit.

Gevgelia, July 6, 2015.
A majority of the migrants stopping in Gevgelia train station are Syrians.

Gevgelia, July 6, 2015. A majority of the migrants stopping in Gevgelia train station are Syrians.

Near Skopje, July 6, 2015.
Ahmad's group chose to travel to Skopje, the Macedonian capital, by bus, because the 3 daily trains are not enough for the number of migrants.

Near Skopje, July 6, 2015. Ahmad's group chose to travel to Skopje, the Macedonian capital, by bus, because the 3 daily trains are not enough for the number of migrants.

Skopje, July 7, 2015.

Skopje, July 7, 2015.

Skopje, July 7, 2015.

Skopje, July 7, 2015.

Skopje, July 7, 2015.

Skopje, July 7, 2015.

Skopje, July 7, 2015.

Skopje, July 7, 2015.

Slanishte, July 7, 2015.

Slanishte, July 7, 2015.

Slanishte, July 7, 2015. 
the group arrived in train to the last nation in Northern Macedonia before the border with Serbia. The police took them down so they have to try and cross by foot.

Slanishte, July 7, 2015. the group arrived in train to the last nation in Northern Macedonia before the border with Serbia. The police took them down so they have to try and cross by foot.

Serbia, highway E75, July 8, 2015.
Jihan, exhausted by the night walking between Macedonia and Serbia, is sleeping on the emergency line of the highway going across the border.

Serbia, highway E75, July 8, 2015. Jihan, exhausted by the night walking between Macedonia and Serbia, is sleeping on the emergency line of the highway going across the border.

Serbia, Bujanovac July 8, 2015.

Serbia, Bujanovac July 8, 2015.

Serbia, highway E75, July 8, 2015.

Serbia, highway E75, July 8, 2015.

Serbia, Bujanovac July 8, 2015.

Serbia, Bujanovac July 8, 2015.

Serbia, July 8, 2015.

Serbia, July 8, 2015.

Serbia, July 8, 2015.

Serbia, July 8, 2015.

Belgrade, July 9, 2015.

Belgrade, July 9, 2015.

Belgrade, July 9, 2015.

Belgrade, July 9, 2015.

Belgrade, July 9, 2015.
Ahmad negociates the payment for the 19 people of his group.

Belgrade, July 9, 2015. Ahmad negociates the payment for the 19 people of his group.

Belgrade, July 9, 2015.
Ahmad is planning the next step in the crossing. He and his wife share a hotel room with their 2 children and their niece.

Belgrade, July 9, 2015. Ahmad is planning the next step in the crossing. He and his wife share a hotel room with their 2 children and their niece.

Belgrade, July 10, 2015.

Belgrade, July 10, 2015.

Belgrade, July 12, 2015.

Belgrade, July 12, 2015.

Belgrade, July 13, 2015.

Belgrade, July 13, 2015.

Belgrade, July 13, 2015.

Belgrade, July 13, 2015.

Horgos, July 15, 2015.

Horgos, July 15, 2015.

Horgos, July 15, 2015.
Jihan arrives at the Serbian border with Hungary. It is the most controled one of their crossing.

Horgos, July 15, 2015. Jihan arrives at the Serbian border with Hungary. It is the most controled one of their crossing.

Horgos, July 15, 2015.
Ahmad is planning on GoogleMap the crossing of the border to avoid the wired wall built by Hongary.

Horgos, July 15, 2015. Ahmad is planning on GoogleMap the crossing of the border to avoid the wired wall built by Hongary.

Horgos, July 15, 2015.

Horgos, July 15, 2015.

Hungary, July 15, 2015.
Ahmad, thanks to the advice of a former migrants, manage to enter Hungary with his group without being arrested by the hungarian police.

Hungary, July 15, 2015. Ahmad, thanks to the advice of a former migrants, manage to enter Hungary with his group without being arrested by the hungarian police.

Hungary, July 15, 2015.
Ahmad and his group avoided the police by running through the fields and between the houses inside the border area.

Hungary, July 15, 2015. Ahmad and his group avoided the police by running through the fields and between the houses inside the border area.

Hungary, July 15, 2015.
Ahmad and his group are waiting hidden that a road is cleared of police to walk across it.

Hungary, July 15, 2015. Ahmad and his group are waiting hidden that a road is cleared of police to walk across it.

Hungary, July 15, 2015.

Hungary, July 15, 2015.

Budapest, July 16, 2015.
Jihan sleeps outside of a Macdonalds in the suburbs of Budapest, the hungarian capitale. Two drivers, paid by a smuggler, have just dropped her group here after driving them away from the border.

Budapest, July 16, 2015. Jihan sleeps outside of a Macdonalds in the suburbs of Budapest, the hungarian capitale. Two drivers, paid by a smuggler, have just dropped her group here after driving them away from the border.

Budapest, July 16, 2015.

Budapest, July 16, 2015.

Budapest, July 16, 2015.
Ahmad salutes 4 of his comrades going separately to Germany with illegal cars.

Budapest, July 16, 2015. Ahmad salutes 4 of his comrades going separately to Germany with illegal cars.

Budapest, July 16, 2015.

Budapest, July 16, 2015.

Budapest, July 17, 2015.

Budapest, July 17, 2015.

Budapest, July 17, 2015.
Ahmad is getting the money ready to pay the smuggler who will hire drivers for the trip to Germany. The trip for one adult costs 800 €.

Budapest, July 17, 2015. Ahmad is getting the money ready to pay the smuggler who will hire drivers for the trip to Germany. The trip for one adult costs 800 €.

Budapest, July 17, 2015.

Budapest, July 17, 2015.

Between Budapest and Gyor, July 17, 2015.
Ahmad and his group have just been left alone at a highway service area by the traffickers who left with all their bags.

Between Budapest and Gyor, July 17, 2015. Ahmad and his group have just been left alone at a highway service area by the traffickers who left with all their bags.

Budapest, July 17, 2015.
In the smuggler's hideout, waiting for a new car ride to Germany.

Budapest, July 17, 2015. In the smuggler's hideout, waiting for a new car ride to Germany.

Budapest, July 17, 2015.
In the smuggler's hideout, waiting for a new car ride to Germany.

Budapest, July 17, 2015. In the smuggler's hideout, waiting for a new car ride to Germany.

Border between Hungary and Slovakia, July 18, 2015.

Border between Hungary and Slovakia, July 18, 2015.

In a commuter train between Nuremberg and Hamburg, July 18, 2015.

In a commuter train between Nuremberg and Hamburg, July 18, 2015.

In an other commuter train between Nuremberg and Hamburg, July 18, 2015.

In an other commuter train between Nuremberg and Hamburg, July 18, 2015.

Germnay, July 18, 2015.
Jiahn and her family  will go from one train to another 8 times, to avoid police controls.

Germnay, July 18, 2015. Jiahn and her family will go from one train to another 8 times, to avoid police controls.

In an other commuter train between Nuremberg and Hamburg, July 18, 2015.

In an other commuter train between Nuremberg and Hamburg, July 18, 2015.

Hamburg, July 18, 2015.

Hamburg, July 18, 2015.

Hamburg, July 18, 2015.
Train station.

Hamburg, July 18, 2015. Train station.

Hamburg, July 19, 2015.
Jihan is taking care of the children in a fast-food restaurant, one of the few opened 24/7 in the train station.

Hamburg, July 19, 2015. Jihan is taking care of the children in a fast-food restaurant, one of the few opened 24/7 in the train station.

Danmark, July 20, 2015.

Danmark, July 20, 2015.

Allemagne, 19 Juillet 2015.
the family lost everything after being robbed by their drivers. What they have left, they carry on their shoulders.

Allemagne, 19 Juillet 2015. the family lost everything after being robbed by their drivers. What they have left, they carry on their shoulders.

Between Danmark and Sweden, 20 Juillet 2015.

Between Danmark and Sweden, 20 Juillet 2015.

Brömolla, July 20, 2015.
Ahmad and his family finally reach their destination without being arrested by the police.

Brömolla, July 20, 2015. Ahmad and his family finally reach their destination without being arrested by the police.

Brömolla, July 21, 2015.
Jihan meets with her sister-in-law after a 2 years absence.

Brömolla, July 21, 2015. Jihan meets with her sister-in-law after a 2 years absence.

Brömolla, July 21, 2015.
Cidra, 11, Ahmad's niece, calls her mother in syria to tell her she reached her destination safely.

Brömolla, July 21, 2015. Cidra, 11, Ahmad's niece, calls her mother in syria to tell her she reached her destination safely.

Brömolla, July 21, 2015.
Ahmad, his sister and their niece are talking to Viber with Cidra's mother.

Brömolla, July 21, 2015. Ahmad, his sister and their niece are talking to Viber with Cidra's mother.

Brömolla, July 21, 2015.Ahmad, Jihan, Maya, Caesar and Cidra enjoy some time together before going to register to the Swedish police to start their asylum request.

Brömolla, July 21, 2015.Ahmad, Jihan, Maya, Caesar and Cidra enjoy some time together before going to register to the Swedish police to start their asylum request.