One 13-year-old's brief analysis of the Syrian refugee crisis provides eye-opening insight into the ongoing tension between those forced from their homes and the European countries struggling to help them.
Kinan Masalmeh, who escaped with his sister from Daraa, Syria, appears in a video shot by Al Jazeera journalists outside a train station in Budapest, Hungary. He has a simple message for world leaders: "Please help the Syrians."
“The Syrians need help now,” Masalmeh says. “Just stop the war. We don’t want to go to Europe. Just stop the war.”
Nearly 4 million Syrians have been forced from their homes by conflict and the spread of terrorism in the country, according to the U.N. Refugee Agency (UNHCR). Some countries have responded with aid and open borders, but the tide of those in need has become overwhelming, and other nations have instead put up walls or proposed anti-migration laws. Germany is expecting to receive nearly 800,000 applications for asylum this year, quadruple the amount it got in 2014.
Politics aside, confrontations between refugees and Europeans have been on the rise. Thousands of refugees clashed with police in Budapest on Wednesday after a train station was reopened. German Chancellor Angela Merkel has sharply criticized an uptick in xenophobic attacks.
Masalmeh's frustrated comments come as several horrific events bring into sharp focus the surge of refugees into Europe. The heart-wrenching drowning of a Syrian child after a boat of refugees capsized on its way to Greece made headlines around the globe this week. And the bodies of 71 people were found in the back of a truck near the Austrian border late last month.
That event prompted U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon to call for "much more" action to address the issue. He urged "all governments involved to provide comprehensive responses, expand safe and legal channels of migration and act with humanity, compassion and in accordance with their international obligations."
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