'It's worth it': Iraqi migrant crossing EU border

Umm Malak hid in freezing cold forests at the Poland-Belarus border, trying six times to cross with her three young daughters and while heavily pregnant, hoping to reach Germany eventually for a better life.

She was among the thousands of migrants, many of them Iraqis like her, stuck in the middle of the EU-Belarus border crisis, before she got through and despite the hardship, she's telling other would-be migrants that it was worth it.

"The future of my children, I have to think about this first, because in Iraq, there is no future, neither for us nor for them. I have a glimmer of hope that I will provide a future for them (referring to her children)."

We met Umm Malak in an open migrant center in the Polish city of Bialystok, where she was staying with her husband and daughters.

She said that on a few occasions the Polish authorities caught them trying to cross, taking them back to the border with Belarus, although Polish police deny bringing migrants back to the border.

On one attempt to enter Poland, she fell into a pond near the border and got sick, already eight months pregnant.

Eventually, Polish authorities detained her for three days, then took her to a migrant center.

Neither Polish Border Guard nor Belarus authorities responded to requests for comment on her case.

Reuters also could not independently verify her account.

For some migrants at the Bialystok open migrant center, they regretted the journey to Poland and called their loved ones not to come.

But Umm Malak said migrants, especially those from Iraq like her, should still try getting over the border to the EU.

"I would advise all those thinking of coming to do it, because there is no future or security or anything in Iraq. So bear the difficulties of the journey for a month or two, for a week or two, instead of continuing to suffer in Iraq for years."

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