Syrian refugees cross Arctic border into Norway on bikes
by Daily Sabah
ISTANBULSep 01, 2015 - 12:00 am GMT+3
by Daily Sabah
Sep 01, 2015 12:00 am
While many refugees try to reach Europe via the Mediterranean and the Balkans, some Syrian refugees have found another route, reaching Norway's Arctic border with Russia. More than 100 people crossed Norway's Arctic border from Russia on bicycles, taking advantage of a loophole in the country's border regulations, The Local reported.
The boundary agreement between Norway and Russia says it is illegal to cross the border on foot or to give someone a ride without the necessary documents. However, Syrian refugees have solved this problem by using bicycles crossing the Storskog border station, which is Norway's only legal border crossing with Russia, into the tiny Norwegian town of Kirkenes.
The Local quoted one of the border officials Goran Stenseth saying they have already seen that some tourists cross the border on bicycles, but they have also "started to see some asylum seekers coming by bicycle." According to Sør-Varanger Avis, a local newspaper, 133 asylum-seekers have used this method so far this year and most of them are Syrian. Hans Mollebakken, head of the local police in Kirkenes, said the police already arrested some drivers who had given asylum seekers a lift across the border, suspecting that some people could be making money off giving the lifts.