Many Syrian refugees who have made their way to Greece are so absolutely miserable, some are considering heading back home to fight for al-Qaida.
In 2016, 160,000 refugees flooded Greece, half of whom are Syrian, according to data from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, Reuters reports.
“People are so desperate here, they’ll really do anything,” former NATO employee Safi said. “Everyone is depressed here, myself included. Nobody ever feels good.”
“I have friends who are saying they’ll go back to join Al Qaeda or worse, because they feel like they have no other choice,” Safi added. “And, you know what? I don’t blame them.”
These Syrians are attempting to apply for refugee status so they can gain entry into the European Union, but many are finding the application process incredibly challenging and time-consuming. So miserable are the wait times for asylum, that some refugees would rather be back home in Syria, even though a large part of the country is barely inhabitable after countless years of internal conflict.
Mustafa, another Syrian refugee, said he’s been waiting months in a hot tent for his asylum interview at the European Asylum Support Office to proceed.
“At this rate we’ll be here for years,” he said, according to Al Jazeera. “Sometimes, I just want to take my wife’s hand and jump into the sea.”
“The time it takes for a relocation request to go through in Greece really depends on the member state in question. Some are relatively fast and some are not,” Greek asylum service worker Iota Peristeri told Reuters.
Refugees streaming into Greece after the EU-Turkey deal may have to wait even longer than three months for their asylum applications to be processed. In the meantime, some refugees have given up hope and are doing their best to get smuggled back to Turkey. The deal struck in March to reduce the flow of refugees from Turkey to Greece has mostly held.
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