Thessaloniki to Budapest: the long march to a new life

The Independent


As the sun sets on the grand 19th-century hall of Keleti station in Budapest, Amira gets ready to spend another night on the street. She is one of roughly 2,000 people sleeping rough outside the station.

Syrians, Iraqis, Afghans and people from many other nations are seeking refuge in Europe. Amira, who fled from Qamishli in northern Syria, has been in Hungary for 11 days

Satire in the Middle East: Laughing at the humourless

The Economist


“IF I were a cow, I would be wearing a bra,” goes a lyric in a popular song about Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the leader of Islamic State (IS). This reference to bovine lingerie—a poke at Mr Baghdadi’s supposed umbrage at the sight of naked udders—gets cheers from the audience in Metro al-Madina, a theatre in Beirut. The tune about Mr Baghdadi leading Islam into the abyss has proven such a hit that the Lebanese band performing it, The Great Departed, has extended its show.

Inside Lebanon's Islamic State Jail

The Independent


The trigger was the apparent planning of a suicide operation from inside the jail. The man who detonated himself out of a café in the city of Tripoli on 10 January, was directed from the third floor of Bloc B of Roumieh, a prison housed behind a thick, stone, barbed wire topped wall just north of Beirut.

Exclusive interview with the widow of Jordanian pilot Muath al Kessasbeh

The Independent

When her mother first called her in tears, Anwar Tarawneh knew immediately that something was wrong.

Her husband, Lieutenant Muath al-Kasaesbeh, was in the hands of Isis, after being shot down while flying an F-16 over Syria on 24 December.

The Turkish city that feels like Syria

The Daily Beast


IZMIR, Turkey — A family is hunched together on a patch of grass close to a busy roundabout on a bus stop. They snack on sunflower seeds and discuss their future; within days they will board a boat to start a new life in Europe. “They call it the journey of death, did you know that?” asks Radwan, a 42-year-old truck driver from Homs. Neither he nor his three children can swim.

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