A perilous trek - refugees journey from Syria to Germany
The distance from Syria to Germany is approximately 3,700 kilometres. For refugees fleeing the civil war the journey can take weeks, if not months. And it′s not for the faint-hearted. Even if one takes the route through the West Balkans.
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 people traffickers 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
A stone′s throw from the terror: as many as 40,000 Syrians have taken refuge from the civil war in the refugee camp outside Suruc, Turkey. The conflict zone is just a few kilometres away on the horizon, in the Syrian border town of Kobani. The camp is set up like a town with mosques, schools and broad streets. But no-one wants to stay here long
The scars of war: Abdurrahman Yaser al-Saad has made it to the Turkish port of Izmir. The 16-year-old Syrian shows the huge scar on his stomach to other refugees. At school when the Syrian army dropped a barrel bomb, he sustained serious injuries
Some Syrians who come to Turkey′s Izmir province before travelling 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
Washed up on the sand: this refugee only just made it back to the beach at Turkey′s popular seaside resort of Bodrum. He had been in one of the dinghies used by people traffickers to bring refugees illegally to Greece. The boats are often hopelessly overcrowded
Stunned: holidaymakers on the beach on the Greek island of Kos watch as refugees head towards the shore in a rowing boat. Every refugee pays the traffickers approximately 1,000 euros to make the crossing from Bodrum. Although it′s only four kilometres across the water, many refugees – being unable to swim – are destined to drown
The uncomfortable reality on Kos: tourists on the way to their hotel or the beach pass a number of refugee tents. Should one make eye contact? Shouldn′t one be helping?
The luck of the draw: many refugees leave Greece via the Balkans in an attempt to reach Western Europe. The station at Gevgelija in Macedonia is a major staging post. After days of waiting, everyone is desperate to board the train to Serbia
Step by step: the scene is almost romantic. Silhouetted against the first rays of the morning sun, hundreds of refugees walk along a disused railway line from Serbia to Hungary. Most, if not all, intend travelling on to Austria and Hungary. The many kilometres spent walking sap the refugees′ remaining strength
Despair: fearing his family will be taken to a Hungarian refugee camp, a Syrian father clings to the tracks at the station at Bicske with his wife and child. They had thought the train would take them from Budapest to Vienna. Instead they are to be registered by the Hungarian authorities
Nearing the finish line: hundreds of refugees from Iraq, Syria and Afghanistan take their lives into their own hands and walk along a Hungarian motorway towards Austria. They had waited for days at Budapest′s main station for connecting trains – without success
At long last: Munich station. Angela Merkel is a symbol of hope for many of those fleeing the civil war in Syria. Unlike in other European countries, they feel welcome in Germany