‘Caravan of Hope’ will illegally migrate 10,000 Syrians into Germany in March

Arab news channel Hadiabdullah.net is reporting that thousands of Syrians currently living in Turkey will move across the Turkish-Greek border headed for Germany in the middle of March, organized and funded by a group called "Caravan of Hope". The "Caravan of Hope" is coordinating its plans using the messenger app Telegram, on which Islamist terrorist organizations plan attacks, in addition to Messenger, a messaging app owned by Facebook.

Many Syrians are dissatisfied with the living conditions in Turkey and have been promised better in Germany. They now trust that international relief organizations and NGOs will ensure a smooth organization until the "caravan" has reached its destination. The migrants will leave Turkey in mid-March to travel altogether from Greece to Germany with the Caravan of Hope. Habiadullah writes that the migrants "seek a secure and stable life after the collapse of their country." It seems to be mainly Syrians who want to make the illegal crossing across the Turkish-Greek border. A caravan coordinator appealed to all organizations and humanitarian organizations operating in Turkey and abroad to help the refugees in Turkey reach the Greek mainland.

According to the "convoy coordinators", the number of registered migrants rises hourly and had 10,000 registrations by February 28. The NGOs have already pledged their help and say they are urgently needed for everyone to reach Europe safely. Whether this should be done by water, land, or air, the organizers deliberately leave open. Five days prior to the caravan setting out, the migrants and coordinators will all know the time and place of departure. From conversations in the Telegram chat, they insist this information should be kept secret from the public. Since anyone can register with the Telegram group, former groups have succeeded using fake accounts under Arabic names.

In 2016, the European Union signed a controversial deal with Turkey, brokered by German Chancellor Angela Merkel, to halt illegal migration flows to Europe in return for financial and political rewards for Ankara. The agreement aims to close the main route by which a million migrants and refugees poured across the Aegean Sea to Greece from 2015 to 2016 before marching north to Germany and Sweden. Under the pact, Ankara would take back all migrants and refugees, including Syrians, who cross to Greece illegally across the sea. In return, the EU would take in thousands of Syrian refugees directly from Turkey and reward it with more money, early visa-free travel and faster progress in EU membership talks.

As public hostility grows towards Syrian refugees in Turkey, the authorities there have been accused of forcing Syrians back across the border. By United Nations estimates, Turkey is currently sheltering 3.6 million Syrians at a cost to the government of about €25 billion.

Ankara has avoided a strategy for integration of the Syrians for two main reasons: to encourage Syrians to return home as soon as possible, and it fears there would be a public backlash if it appeared to accept that the Syrians were staying permanently. There are many indications hostility towards the newcomers has been growing steadily for some time. Especially in cities – Istanbul, Ankara and Izmir – violence against refugees is increasingly common. Perceptions that Syrians represent competition for public services and employment continue to cause resentment. In one survey by the Center for American Progress, eighty percent of people thought Ankara was spending too much money on refugees.

Domestic pressure has forced President Erdogan to do a complete policy flip and now "Erdogan would like best to be rid of the refugees as fast as possible," according to Germany’s Der Spiegel's Istanbul correspondent, Maximilian Popp. The Turkish regime has simply closed a number of refugee camps ostensibly to save money, Maximilian Popp claims, while many Syrians are also being encouraged to return home voluntarily or coerced into signing statements saying they are returning of their own free will.

Whether deportations are real or only rumored, it is people smugglers who would benefit. The more Syrians are desperate to avoid being forcibly returned, the greater the demand for smugglers to help them get to Europe instead. This creates even more of a problem for Ankara, since under its agreement with the EU, Turkey is supposed to make sure no migrants enter the EU irregularly across its borders. For this, Europe gives billions in aid so that Turkey can support its refugees. The other problem for Turkey, if it is deporting Syrians, is that it would be breaking the law against refoulement by sending refugees back to war zones.