Journalist follows Syrian refugee’s journey through Europe

Twenty-year old Nour told the BBC she was forced to leave her home town after it was bombed, paying smugglers for a dangerous voyage across the sea to Greece.


She then continued on foot, by car and by train, with the goal of eventually reaching Sweden, where she planned to apply for asylum.

During her 3,000 kilometre journey through nine countries, Nour said she had to constantly avoid being caught by authorities, and was forced to leave her elderley mother behind in Turkey.

Nour began her journey in Greece, where she fought with thousands of other asylum seekers to get a coveted seat on a bus to Macedonia.

A week into the journey, she said she was exhausted.

“Actually, we sleep on the streets you know,” she said.

“We slept on the streets for like three or four days with no bathroom. It’s very bad.”

Finally, after days of waiting, Nour finally managed to secure a seat on the bus, making the journey north, arriving at a town bordering with Serbia.

“We slept on the streets for like three or four days with no bathroom. It’s very bad.”

“We are very tired, very sick because yesterday it was very cold,” she said after getting off the bus.

Nour avoided the queues for travel papers, saying she did not want to be found before arriving in Sweden.

Under current European Union regulations, asylum seekers must remain in the first European country they enter while their protection applications are being assessed.

Germany is pushing for all EU countries to accept Syrian refugees.

Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel said quotas must be established to ensure a fair distribution of asylum seekers across Europe.

“This should apply in every country of the European Union. We are, of course, following the rules, but we are seeing every day how these rules are not put into practice in the same way everywhere.”

But Nour only wanted to be registered in Sweden.

After avoiding the queue for registration, she boarded the bus bound for Belgrade, Serbia.

In Serbia, she found a secret place to stay for the night.

Her next destination is Hungary, the main entry point to the European Union.

“Tomorrow we go to Hungary. If we’re passing safe, that’s fantastic.”

Nour then receives a car lift 10 kilometres from the Hungarian border, crossing into Hungary after several hours of walking.

She stayed in a home, but was found by police, who she paid a bribe of $80AUD not to be taken in.

She eventually arrived in Vienna, and made a final train journey into Gothenburg, Sweden.

“It’s just like a dream you know, all the way when I look into the window on the train I say where am I? Is it true that I’m going to Sweden?”

Finally after two weeks, Nour reached her final destination, to begin a new life.