23:31 GMT20 January 2021
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    Major Migrant Crisis in Europe (1819)
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    Wassim Omar and his wife and three children left Syria on 10 March 2016 and traveled to Greece from Turkey. They are now stuck on the island of Chios.

    "We are on hunger strike for our children, maybe we will die?" Omar told Sputnik,

    "At least if we die, our children will be proud that we tried to tell the world what is going on in Greece."

    Greece is still trying to implement the new EU-Turkey deal which allows authorities to deport "irregular migrants" back to Turkey. Under the one-for-one refugee scheme, specially selected Syrian refugees from Turkish refugee camps will be resettled in Europe.

    • On 17th May, 28 Syrian & Palestinian refugees (adults) went on hunger strike in Chios, Greece. They demand asylum information and interviews for their applications.
      On 17th May, 28 Syrian & Palestinian refugees (adults) went on hunger strike in Chios, Greece. They demand asylum information and interviews for their applications.
      © Photo : Wassim Omar
    • On 17th May, 28 Syrian & Palestinian refugees (adults) went on hunger strike in Chios, Greece. They demand asylum information and interviews for their applications.
      On 17th May, 28 Syrian & Palestinian refugees (adults) went on hunger strike in Chios, Greece. They demand asylum information and interviews for their applications.
      © Photo : Wassim Omar
    • On 17th May, 28 Syrian & Palestinian refugees (adults) went on hunger strike in Chios, Greece. They demand asylum information and interviews for their applications.
      On 17th May, 28 Syrian & Palestinian refugees (adults) went on hunger strike in Chios, Greece. They demand asylum information and interviews for their applications.
      © Photo : Wassim Omar
    • On 17th May, 28 Syrian & Palestinian refugees (adults) went on hunger strike in Chios, Greece. They demand asylum information and interviews for their applications.
      On 17th May, 28 Syrian & Palestinian refugees (adults) went on hunger strike in Chios, Greece. They demand asylum information and interviews for their applications.
      © Photo : Wassim Omar
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    © Photo : Wassim Omar
    On 17th May, 28 Syrian & Palestinian refugees (adults) went on hunger strike in Chios, Greece. They demand asylum information and interviews for their applications.

    So-called hotspots set up to process asylum seekers have not been properly implemented.

    Volunteers on the ground in Chios have told Sputnik that the situation is "chaotic" and thousands of families, like Wassim's, who have already been detained in filthy and unsanitary conditions for more than 25 days, are still unable to leave the island.

    Wassim, a qualified teacher has been on hunger strike on the island of Chios for four days.

    "Our children are not on hunger strike. We, their parents are. We are protesting because we have been here since 20 March 2016 and we cannot leave. No one is hearing our voices, we need someone to help us," Wassim told Sputnik.

    Wassim, like many other refugees remains in limbo.

    "Nothing is happening. We are told nothing. No organization can answer our questions. We keep asking, 'What next?' and we are always told, 'We don't know.'

    "We have been stuck on this island for two months, all we want to do is go to a safe country with our families," Wassim explained, speaking to Sputnik from Chios.

    'Education Comes First'

    "We decided to do this difficult hunger strike so the world can hear our problem and help relocate us to another country. Greece has financial problems, we can't find work here. We want to go to Germany or Canada to get a better life for our children. My brother is in Germany."

    "It's not about us, it's about our children." Wassim said.

    "I want them to learn English, I want them to be educated. I don't want money, when they get educated, they can then earn money. Education comes first."

    The one-for-one refugee swap began on Monday 4 April. Human rights groups say the mass deportations breach international law.

    And Wassim's family, like many others who are stuck in Greece, just want to move on.

    Topic:
    Major Migrant Crisis in Europe (1819)

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    Tags:
    Syrian refugees, hotspots, migrant crisis, children, humanitarian crisis, hunger strike, detention, EU-Turkey migrant deal, Chios Island, Europe, Greece
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