Kurdish migrant died in Belarus – his friends

A combined picture of the body of a Kurdish migrant in a mall in Belarus (L) and a general view of Minsk

SULAIMANI (ESTA) — A Kurdish migrant died in Belarus on Sunday, after staying in the forests on the border between Belarus and Poland, according to people who were migrating with him. 

The Kurdish migrant, named as Kurdo by his friends, died of heart attack in a mall in Belarus 20 days after he stayed in the country’s jungles, other migrants who were with him said on Sunday.

Despite the risk of getting stranded in Europe or perishing on the way there, hundreds of people from the Kurdistan Region and Iraq have opted to be smuggled into European Union countries via Belarus.

Approximately 300 Kurdish migrants are stuck on the Belarus-Poland border.

Iraq suspended direct flights from Baghdad to Minsk in August under EU pressure. Migrants are now flying via Dubai or Turkey, Reuters cited smugglers, residents, travel agencies and the honorary Belarusian consul in Erbil as saying.

The trips can cost up to $12,000 including flights and being smuggled overland once in Europe.

Several Iraqi and Kurdish migrants have died crossing into Poland from Belarus.

Another Kurdish migrant died in an accident on Belarus-Poland border on Saturday, according to the head of the foreign relations committee in the Kurdistan Region.

Poland, Lithuania and the EU have accused Belarus of encouraging migrants, mostly from Iraq and Afghanistan, to cross their borders as a form of pressure on the bloc over sanctions Brussels has imposed on Minsk over human rights abuses.

More than 37,000 Iraqis have left the country this year, according to the Lutka Foundation for Refugee and Displaced Affairs.

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