The number of illegal Syrian immigrants who have been registered in the European border-crossing points increased by about 249% in three months, according to a new report from the European agency for the management and operational cooperation across the external borders of the European Union, Frontex.
The number in the second quarter of this year reached 16,432 immigrants, compared to 4,714 in the first quarter of the same year. The annual total number also increased by more than 490%, with the number of Syrian illegal immigrants at 2,784 in the second quarter of last year.
Syrians constituted 24% of the total number of illegal immigrants registered during the second quarter of this year.
This data and many other details, considered official, were presented in the Frontex network risk analysis report, issued this week for the second quarter of 2014.
Al-Watan obtained an electronic copy of the report and compared it with the data from previous reports, finding that the total number of illegal immigrants who have been registered by Frontex at European border crossings has reached 46,069, covering the period from the beginning of last year to June this year.
In 39 months, the total number of Syrian illegal immigrants who crossed the European border crossing reached 56,000.
The Mediterranean route appeared to be popular because of its low cost in comparison with land routes, despite the higher degree of risk, as the report stated that 14,867 Syrian illegal immigrants chose the Mediterranean route while only 1,565 chose the land route during the second quarter of 2014.
According to information obtained by Al-Watan from the relatives of immigrants, or those who seek immigration, the costs have risen significantly to reach three million Syrian Pounds, while the cost is one million Syrian Pounds for those who instead choose the Mediterranean route from Libya towards Italy by "death boats".
The land route often begins from Turkey, then takes migrants to Greece and Serbia to reach European borders. Others travel by plane, through professional brokers, but the cost is no less than 3 million Syrian Pounds per person.
According to the recent report, the number of illegal Syrian residents in Europe reached 14,754 during the second quarter of 2014, compared to 3,621 in the same period of last year, with an average annual increase of more than 307%, so the total number in 39 months reached 67,297. The number of Syrian illegal residents constitutes 14.6% of the total residents registered in the second quarter of 2014 which was 100,647.
As for asylum applications in the EU countries, the report states that 22,259 applications were submitted by Syrians during the second quarter of 2014, which constitutes 19.6% of the total applications submitted in the same period amounting to 113,312 applications.
Noting that 7,915 asylum applications were submitted by Syrians during the second quarter of last year, the number has increased by more than 181% on an annual basis. During 39 months, 119,543 asylum applications were submitted by Syrians in the European Union countries.
Regarding the smugglers, the report said that the number of facilitators of illegal immigration has reached 2,641 facilitators during the second quarter of 2014, thus the number has increased by more than 1,307 in a year and a half, and nearly 2,404 thousand in 39 months.
Moroccan smugglers top the list of known facilitators in the second quarter of 2,014, as their number reached 222 facilitators. The rest of the list is distributed between several countries as follows: 167 Spaniards, 134 Italians, 115 French, 100 Syrians, 99 Egyptians, 99 Turks, 96 Albanians, and 92 Nigerians.
Translated and edited by The Syrian Observer