Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : September 17th 2015 Contents A29
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Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has
blamed Europe's refugee crisis on Western
support for "terrorists," as people fleeing his
country's civil war stream towards the
In his first public comments on the mass
migration, broadcast yesterday, Assad said
Europe could expect more refugees.
Countries including the United States,
Turkey and Saudi Arabia want to see Assad
gone from power and have supported the
opposition to his rule during the four-year-
old war, including some of the armed
groups fighting him.
Assad said Turkish support had been
crucial to the growth of two of the biggest
insurgent groups in Syria, Islamic State and
the al Qaeda-linked Nusra Front, and aerial
bombing by a US-led coalition had failed to
stop Islamic State. Turkey denies the
accusation. The Syrian president dismissed
Western suggestions that his
government's actions in the war had fueled
the spread of such groups. (Reuters)
The first group of migrants has
reached Croatia---opening up a new
route to northern EU countries, a day
after Hungary sealed its border with
About 150 migrants crossed into
Croatia, an EU member, from Serbia.
Croatia says it is ready to receive
them or "direct" them to where they
want to go. Many migrants---mainly
Syrian---are hoping to reach Germany.
New border restrictions and a row
over allocating migrants have shown
bitter divisions in Europe over the cri-
sis.On Tuesday, Hungary declared a
state of emergency in the border area,
with hundreds of army and police
deployed to enforce new laws making
it an offence to breach a razor-wire
Police sealed a railway crossing point
near Roszke which had been used by
tens of thousands of migrants to enter
the European border-free Schengen
The move has all but stopped the
Until Monday, most poured into
Schengen member Hungary and
crossed into Austria to reach Germany.
Both Germany and Austria have intro-
duced tighter border controls to control
A group of about 40 migrants
arrived in the border town of Sid in
Serbia yesterday. They had travelled
by bus from the Serbian town of Pre-
sevo near the Macedonian border in
"We heard that Hungary was closed
so the police told us we should come
this way," Amadou, 35, from Mauritania
told AFP news agency.
"We don't know what we should
do now. Do we have to catch a boat?"
Croatia's Prime Minister Zoran
Milanovic told parliament that author-
ities were "entirely ready to receive or
direct those people where they want
to go, which is obviously Germany or
"They will be able to pass through
Croatia and we will help, we're getting
ready for that possibility," he said.
Croatian media have warned of the
dangers posed by landmines dating
back to Croatia's war of independence
in the early 1990s, even though experts
say the areas are clearly marked. (BBC)
Hungarian riot police have
fired tear gas and water cannon
to force migrants back from the
Hundreds of people have
massed at a closed crossing point
near the Serbian town of Horgos,
and are involved in a tense stand-
off with police on the other side
of the border.
Some migrants threw missiles,
including stones and water bot-
Many of the migrants want to
reach Germany via Hungary.
Hungary closed its entire border
with Serbia on Tuesday after
enacting laws that make it illegal
to enter the country or damage a
new razor-wire border fence. The
country's courts have started fast-
track trials of arrested migrants.
Serbia's foreign ministry---which
has protested over the firing of
tear gas and water cannon into
its territory---says Hungary has
now closed the main border cross-
ing between the two countries to
all traffic for 30 days.
There were chaotic scenes near
Horgos, with fires burning and
police vehicles and ambulances
arriving on the Serbian side of the
border, across from the massed
ranks of Hungarian riot police on
the other side.
The firing of tear gas and water
cannon created a panicked stam-
peded of migrants away from the
Several people received medical
treatment from the Serbian ambu-
lance service on the other side of
the border, some suffering the
effects of tear gas.
The Hungarian government
says 20 police officers were injured
during an attempt by migrants to
break through the border.
A clash was inevitable. For more
than an hour, in the afternoon
heat, a group of migrants and
refugees stood inches from a line
of Hungarian riot police at the
border gate. A water cannon stood
behind the police.
"Open the gate, open the gate,"
the group shouted.
They hoped their presence
might somehow persuade Hun-
gary to reopen its border. But the
Hungarian police did not move.
Several people began to throw
empty water bottles towards the
Minutes later, riot police fired
tear gas canisters in unison. The
crowd ran backwards, nearly
knocking over tents.
Meanwhile, Croatia has said it
will allow migrants to travel on
to northern Europe, opening up
a new route a day after Hungary
sealed its border with Serbia.
Dozens reach Croatia as
Hungary border sealed
Syria's Assad blames West for refugee crisis
Hungarian riot police use a water cannon against protesting migrants on the Serbian side of the border, near
Roszke, Hungary yesterday. REUTERS PHOTO
...police fire tear gas, water canon at migrants
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