Belarus migrant crisis: 'He kicked me in the face'

The international crisis between the EU and Belarus, over the migrants on the Polish border, is continuing to spiral, with several thousand migrants stranded, including children, living in makeshift camps in sub-zero temperatures.

Those who have managed to get out are describing their experiences -- some harrowing.

Among them, 37-year-old Youssef Atallah from Damascus.

Speaking from a migrant camp on the Polish side of the border, he says that he flew legally to Moscow before being transported to the border by smugglers in a van.

"Then Belarus police come, border guards come, followed us and then they catch us, take a knees, we took a knees like this and that's why there's a Belarus soldier just this side, he kicked me in the face with his foot, so I passed out for about couple minutes, broke my nose and broke a bone in here and my eyes are swelled like that.”

Another Syrian migrant, Thaer Rezk from Homs, said Belarusian authorities cut the border fence for those attempting to cross.

“We have 100, maybe 100 and more, a lot of hundred, and going to Poland. He cut the chain (means fence)."


“Belarus. And say go to Poland.”

The EU has accuses Belarus of encouraging migrants from the Middle East, Africa, and Afghanistan to illegally cross the border, in revenge for earlier sanctions imposed on Belarus for human rights abuses.

Lukashenko has denied using the migrants as political weapons and says it is the United States and Europe who are responsible for the plight of the people on the border.

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