By Michael Birnbaum, Published: June 17
Athens — Thousands of Syrians fleeing war and misery are making their way to Europe, and many are coming through Greece, whose Mediterranean islands stretch within tantalizing reach of home.Once they get here, many wish they’d never come.
Greece’s economic meltdown has left little food, medicine or other aid for refugees washing up on its shores. The new arrivals are packed into detention camps, and those who stay longer hide in cramped, barren apartments, fearing anti-immigrant violence on the streets. At least 11,000 Syrians have been arrested for crossing into Greece without permission since the conflict started more than two years ago, with more arrested in the first four months of 2013 than in all of 2011.
With pressure building in crowded refugee camps in Turkey, Jordan and Lebanon, Turkish officials have said in recent weeks that they will ask the United States and Europe to take in more refugees. But the reception in Greece suggests that refugees may face an uphill battle on a continent beset by a financial crisis and anxiety about a stream of foreigners.
“We imagined a European country that would be better for the future. If I had known there would be no jobs in Greece, we would have stayed in Turkey,” Ahmed Habash, 33, said one recent afternoon in the cramped, dark Athens apartment he shares with his wife, two sons and another Syrian man with whom they are splitting costs.
Treaties that govern the European Union’s external borders forbid Syrians who have reached Greece without visas from continuing further into Europe. So the refugees find themselves marooned in a country with 27 percent unemployment that has slashed social services for its own citizens…
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source: i cant relax in greece