Drowned refugee boys buried in Syria; crackdown crumbles in Hungary
Updated: 2015-09-05 09:43
KOBANI, Syria/ROSZKE, Hungary - A Syrian father on Friday buried his wife and two little boys, drowned as they tried to flee to Europe, while hundreds of migrants fled from a detention camp and escaped a train stranded under police siege in Hungary.
Hungary's hardline leader said Europeans could end up a minority on their own continent as a crackdown appeared to crumble in his own country, the main entry point for tens of thousands of refugees and migrants reaching the EU by land over the Balkan peninsula.
Hungary has cancelled all trains to western Europe to prevent migrants from travelling on and seeking sanctuary in richer countries north and west. Its prime minister, Viktor Orban, says he is enforcing EU rules by forcing all migrants into camps to register, rather than let them proceed on to other countries.
But hundreds escaped on Friday from a camp near the southern border and later clashed with police there. Hundreds more fled from a train that had been halted west the capital Budapest. Others crossed police barricades to set off on foot from the capital's train station, heading west for the distant Austrian border led by a Syrian refugee with one leg.
Orban's chief of staff, Janos Lazar, said Hungary would lay on buses to transport the 1,200 migrants on foot and thousands more still at the station to the border in coming hours.
An Austrian Interior Ministry spokesman said Vienna had been informed and together with humanitarian organisations was preparing for their arrival.
Austrian police said the driver of a truck found abandoned last week with the bodies of 71 migrants in the back was among a group of people arrested in Hungary, and gave new details about their deaths. Dozens more had narrowly avoided death by using a crowbar to escape from another truck owned by the same Bulgarian man, they said.
More than 300,000 people have crossed to Europe by sea so far this year and more than 2,600 have died doing so. Many of those making the voyage are refugees from the civil war in Syria, now in its fifth year.
More deaths at sea were reported on Friday. About 30-40 people drowned in the Mediterranean off the coast of Libya after a dinghy carrying 120-140 Somalis, Sudanese and Nigerians deflated, causing panic on board, the International Organization for Migration said.