Lonely Planet Writer

Syrian refugees find unexpected route to Europe

The coast of Bari.
The coast of Bari. Image by Helen Cook / CC BY-SA 2.0

A group of middle-class Syrians have found an unusual way to flee their war-torn country and seek asylum in Europe: aboard a luxury cruise ship. The group, which included doctors and veterinarians, booked first-class cabins on the cruise from Istanbul to Bari in southern Italy, reasoning that the tickets wouldn’t cost more than the extortionate amounts charged by people smugglers. The Syrians, who were impeccably dressed and spoke fluent English and French, blended in effortlessly with their fellow cruise passengers, taking full advantage of the ship’s restaurants and entertainment, until it began to approach Bari, at which point they declared their intention to seek asylum to the ship’s captain. Read more: telegraph.co.uk