93 refugees have lost their lives in the past two years while trying to cross the border between Turkey and Bulgaria. An investigation by German media ARD called the area the "Triangle of Death" because of the lives lost in the dense, endless forests.
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Along the way, refugees get lost, die of dehydration and exhaustion. Corpses are most often found by workers from non-governmental organizations. For 2023, more than 70 bodies were found, and the media wrote about videos shot by migrants standing next to their dying companions, trying to cover them, and finally being forced to leave them in the forest.
The story of one of the migrants killed in the "Triangle of Death" tells his father Hussam Adin Bibars. He is a Syrian who escaped to Denmark in 2015. His son Majid has blue eyes and black hair and takes a dangerous route to reach his family in Denmark.
300,<> migrants have entered the EU illegally since the beginning of the year, says European Commission
To get to Denmark, however, he must pass through the "Balkan route," as it is known for traffickers and refugees, which has become increasingly dangerous over the years. External borders are more tightly guarded, and refugees and their traffickers choose longer and more dangerous routes to avoid encounters with police.
Hussam Adin Bibars learns that his son doesn't have enough water to drink. He becomes weaker and weaker, reports stomach pains and can no longer walk. His father is worried and tries to contact the smuggler.
The trafficker confirmed that Majid's health had deteriorated.
"They left him in the woods. I tried to explain to him that Majid is a human being and that you can't just leave him in the woods in such a state. I asked the smuggler to hand over my son to the nearest possible organ," the blackened father was quoted as saying by 24 Chasa.
At one point, Hussam loses touch with the traffickers and goes alone in search of his son. He traveled around Bulgaria, visited hospitals and finally morgues. He reached the coroner's office in Yambol, where he found the first "warm trace" that could lead him to Majid. He was told that he had a body that matched his description, and at the police station they showed him pictures of the corpse found in the field.
Husam wants to see his son and identify him, but the body is now missing. The police only have the grave number for him.
"I wish I could at least see Majid for the last time, but to this day I'm not sure of his death. I saw pictures of the body and they gave me his phone, but I haven't seen it with my own eyes, so my mind still can't believe that the man in this grave is my son."
In October, 41% fewer migrants were detained than in the previous month.
The prosecutor released the body for burial even before it was identified. Prosecutor Milen Bozhidarov, who is in charge of the area, told German media that the morgues were overcrowded. In the event that the body is that of a migrant and relatives are probably far away, there is no reason to store the body.
Majid's father arrived in Bulgaria 22 days after the death of his son. Too late, however, and the only thing he finds is a pile of dirt in a cemetery full of nameless graves.
A few days after Majid's death, a daughter was born to him. She will grow up with her mother and will never know exactly where and how her father died.
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