Two Iraqis living in Ireland spoke of their fear for their loved ones who are embroiled in the humanitarian crisis on the Belarusian-Polish border.
Ten members of Rebaz Sabah Saleh’s family are currently stranded in Belarus, including a child under two and a three- and five-year-old.
His two brothers, their wives and children have been “in limbo” for 35 days, according to the Dublin-based restaurant manager. His two brothers were badly beaten by the army, which did not allow them to cross the Polish border, he said.
“They lived in the forest and my brothers were badly beaten and broken with the Belarusian army Bones left behind. They were in sleeping bags and had very little to eat, and the weather is very cold. They cry every day and some of their children are very young.
“I worry every day that they are going to die. I ask if the Irish Embassy can help my family, if they can intervene, ”he said.
The two brothers of Mr Saleh and their families have withdrawn from the border in the last few days because of the dangers there and are now “stranded” in Minsk. However, they do not feel safe there and face serious dangers from the ongoing turbulence.
Karman Qadir, who lives in Dublin, also said he was very concerned for the well-being of his two nephews, who are currently with other migrants and asylum seekers live on the Belarusian-Polish border.
“You have been there for two months now and live in the forest. You have very little to eat and it is cold. The army took their cell phones away, so I don’t even have contact with them now. I’m very worried about your safety.
“You left Northern Iraq because of the war, it’s very dangerous there. But where you are now, the Belarusian army is even beating the women. It’s heartbreaking to see what happens. “
The two Dublin-based Iraqis are supported by the Kurdish Irish Society, which is monitoring the situation.
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Thousands of migrants are stuck on the eastern border of the European Union in a crisis Minsk says by distributing Belarusian visas in the Middle East, flying in migrants and forcing them across the border.
Poland and other EU States say the crisis is part of a “hybrid war” that Minsk is waging in retaliation for EU sanctions imposed after Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko hijacked a Ryanair flight and put down protests against his rule. The EU says this “hybrid war” is intended to destabilize the bloc.
The EU will now impose further sanctions against Belarus, which diplomats in Brussels say should be approved and passed in early December.
Latvia, Lithuania and Poland – who bear the brunt of the crisis – have dispatched thousands of border guards, soldiers and police officers to seal the border and push back migrants trying to cross the border from Belarus.
A Mediahuis website