A perilous trek: refugees' journey from Syria to Germany
Escaping the horrors of war, many Syrian refugees fleeing to Europe take a long and dangerous route, and even then their future remains uncertain. DW takes a look at their main stops along the way.
Anything but home
More than 240,000 people have been killed in Syria's conflict since it broke out in 2011, and millions have been forced to flee their homes. In a desperate move, many of them decide to catch trains, walk and even pay human smugglers to leave Syria for Europe. In this photo, Syrians conduct search and rescue operations after government forces staged an attack on residential areas in Damascus.
First stop: Turkey
Some Syrians who come to Turkey's Izmir province before traveling by sea to Europe live in hostels, while others who can't afford a hostel room live in tents that they set up in parks and streets - or are forced to sleep outside, like this refugee girl lying on the pavement of an Izmir street.
After leaving Turkey, refugees hope to enter Europe through Greece. In this photo, a group of refugees rows an inflatable dinghy across a part of the Aegean sea from the Turkish coast to the Greek island of Kos, hoping to continue their journey to western Europe. Kos has been unprepared for the huge influx of refugees that have landed on its shores.
Heading for mainland Europe
A young girl from Syria sleeps underneath passenger seats onboard a ferry during a ten-hour journey from Kos to the Greek mainland port of Piraeus. From Piraeus many refugees continue north to the Greek border, where they cross into Macedonia at the town of Idomeni. Since the beginning of 2015 thousands of migrants have used the so-called 'Balkans route,' continuing on to Serbia.
Last month, Macedonia declared a "state of emergency" and said it would mobilize the army to stop refugees from crossing its borders. The move reversed previously lax border controls, so thousands of refugees arrived at the border thinking they would cross rather easily. In the picture, refugees cram into a full train heading to Serbia at the train station in Gevgelija, Macedonia.
Resting in Belgrade
The number of migrants passing through Macedonia into Serbia is increasing. The Serb capital, Belgrade, is often used as a resting point. From the beginning of 2015 to mid-June, nearly 160,000 migrants landed in southern European countries, according to estimates by the International Organization for Migration (IOM). In the picture, refugees chat in a park in Belgrade.
After Serbia, Hungary is overwhelmed
Lawmakers in Budapest have increased punishments for illegal border crossings as police continue to clash with refugees trying to leave the country. Hungary says it is enforcing EU rules that it must register all refugees caught crossing its borders, but thousands are demanding to be allowed to continue their journey - in this case, holding pictures of German Chancellor Angela Merkel.
The next stop after Budapest should be Austria. However, things don't always go as planned. Here, a young girl holds up a sign during a protest at Bicske Station, where some refugees have been taken to stay while Hungary processes their asylum requests. Many refuse to apply, fearing they will be sent back to Hungary if caught later in western and northern Europe.
A warm welcome
Thousands of refugees have arrived in Austria and Germany after having been stranded in Hungary for days. Some of the refugees speak about their relief at finally being able to leave Hungary, which is run by the anti-immigrant right-wing government of Prime Minister Viktor Orban. Many Munich residents have turned out to help them feel at home at last.
A German policeman helps refugees at Munich's main train station. Germany has given the refugees a very warm welcome, but German politicians have been discussing how to cope with the huge intake of people seeking asylum. The refugees' arrival poses numerous challenges not only for those who have fled, but also for those who take them in.