Here is the situation: a Syrian passport was found beside one of the Paris attacks suicide bombers. The ISIS claimed responsibility for the attacks. Meanwhile, Europe is grappling with the influx of migrants coming from Syria.
Many European political leaders want borders shut. Now, fears that ISIS is infiltrating Europe posing as refugees traveling to Europe grew louder. But really, of all properties that could survive the explosion, why a Syrian passport in particular?
One of the suicide bombers behind the Paris attacks that killed 131 people owned an emergency passport, according to a French senator who has spoken with CNN on condition of anonymity. The unnamed senator, citing briefings by the French Ministry of the Interior, said the bomber misleadingly identified himself as a Syrian named Ahmad al Muhammad, born on Sept. 10, 1990. He entered Greece on Oct. 3, move to Macedonia, then Serbia and Croatia where he eventually registered in a refugee camp. On Nov. 13, he made his way to Paris and blew himself up at the Stade de France.
The Wall Street Journal has reported the same. Citing people familiar with the matter, WSJ reported that one of the suicide bombers entered Europe as a Syrian migrant. The remains of the suicide bomber matched the owner of a Syrian passport found at the site of one of the attacks in Paris, the unnamed sources revealed to WSJ.
The Telegraph reported that Greek authorities confirmed that a passport bearing the name of 25-year-old Ahmed Almuhamed was used by an asylum seeker registered on the island of Leros on Oct. 3. He reportedly reached Leros after traveling on a makeshift boat that capsized from Turkey. He was rescued by Greek coastguards. He then applied for asylum in Serbia and afterwards traveled to Croatia, Austria, making his way to France. Two ferry tickets that also had his name along with the name Mohammed Almuhamed was recovered by Protothema, a Greek news website. The owner of the tickets had traveled from Kalymonos to Pireus and then to Athens.
When the influx of migrants coming to Europe reached the uncontrollable level that it is today, German chancellor Angela Merkel was criticized by other European leaders. They floated security concerns over her open-door policy.
When the Paris attacks happened, Bavarian finance minister, Minister Markus Soeder, said, “The days of uncontrolled immigration and illegal entry can’t continue just like that. Paris changes everything,” as quoted by The Guardian. Also after the Paris attacks, the Polish now had reason to back out from an agreement when it comes to taking in Syrian refugees, The Guardian reported.
Amid all this, Aaron Zelin, an analyst of jihad, noted that the ISIS hates Syrians who are fleeing the country and seeking new life in Europe. “For those who want to blame the attacks on Paris on refugees, you might want to get your facts straight. The reality is, [Isis] loathes that individuals are fleeing Syria for Europe. It undermines [Isis’s] message that its self-styled caliphate is a refuge,” Zelin said as quoted by The Guardian.
Hate and discrimination are now faced by Syrian refugees who have already reached Europe and who are still traveling. Kalaham, a mother to a sick child she carried as she awaited registration at the Macedonian border, said she might as well face the animosity from people in Europe than go back to Syria. “I just wanted to leave Syria. I hope for better. I have no fear. It’s chaos in Syria so it couldn’t be worse,” she told The Local FR.
At the French embassy in Berlin, a Syrian refugee lit a candle to show support for the victims of the Paris attacks. “We are with them right now, just to help them with this crisis. What’s happening to them is happening every day in Syria, 100 times per day for five years, so we know what that means,” he said.
Asked about the Syrian passport found beside the Paris attacks suicide bomber, the refugee said, “I think it’s a big lie.” He continued saying, “All the area is destroyed, and just the passport is still ok? That’s silly, really silly.” He went on saying that the passport was planted “because they hate refugees… so many people hate Syrians.”