Body of Syrian youth found on Belarusian-Polish border


Published: 2021-11-13 20:31

Last Updated: 2021-11-27 14:01

Source: CBC
Source: CBC

Polish police announced on Saturday that the body of a Syrian youth had been found near the Belarusian-Polish border. The news comes at a time when several Syrian airlines suspended flights from Damascus to Minsk, in an attempt to curb the flow of migrants.

"The body of a young man of Syrian nationality was found yesterday in the woods near Volka Teresowska," the Podlakia police said in a statement, adding that "the causes of death were not immediately determined."

The death toll from the migrant crisis at the border between the European Union and Belarus has risen to 11, according to media estimates.

Migrants, including Syrians and Iraqis, have been trying for months to cross from Belarus to Poland, but the crisis reached a new level when hundreds made a coordinated attempt this week to be repelled by Polish border guards.

In an attempt to reduce the flow of migrants, "Sham Wings Airlines," the main private air carrier in Syria, announced "the suspension of its flights to Minsk airport, starting today, Saturday."

In a comment posted on its Facebook page, the company said that its decision was based on the fact that "the majority of passengers" on its flights to Minsk airport "are of Syrian nationality, and it is difficult to distinguish between travelers heading to Belarus as a final destination and migrant travelers."

The Polish police had reported a new attempt at night to cross the border by force by "a hundred people".

"In full view of the police and soldiers, people on the Belarusian side fled into the forest," police said. 

"At night, Belarusian soldiers tried to destroy the temporary border fence. They were removing poles and removing barbed wire using a service wagon," Polish border guards said in a tweet.

They added that "the Polish forces were not able to see because of the lasers and powerful lights."

The border police also accused the Belarusian forces of "supplying foreigners with tear gas."

Thousands of migrants, mostly from Africa and the Middle East, have crossed - or attempted to cross - the Belarusian border in recent months to enter Lithuania, Poland or Latvia.

The European Union accuses Minsk of masterminding this in response to Western sanctions against the regime of President Alexander Lukashenko last year, after its violent suppression of his opponents.

Migrants reported that Belarusian forces forced them to cross the border, but were repelled by Polish border guards, leaving them stranded at the border in turbulent weather.