Ahmad, Alia and baby Adam arrived in Europe in September 2015, at the peak of the continent’s migrant crisis. Survivors of a bomb attack in their native Baghdad, they decided to flee Iraq in search of a better life for the sake of their child, who was only four months old when they set out in a flimsy fishing boat from Turkey’s shores to Greece.
From there, they walked through fields, travelled in trains and buses crammed with asylum seekers from across the Middle East, Asia and Africa, and cheated border guards, with an AFP team of correspondents in tow. They filed an asylum claim in the Netherlands, where they have family, in October. They have since lived in a string of makeshift shelters, including in an exhibition centre. Since late December, home has been a former women’s prison-turned-refugee camp. Like hundreds of thousands of other asylum seekers across Europe, they don’t yet know whether they will be granted a residence permit.
We first met them in an overcrowded train from the Greek-Macedonian border to the Serbian frontier, and have written about their journey -- from trekking the Balkan route, to arriving in the Netherlands, to the dreams that came with living in their new land.
This latest instalment is on Ahmad’s asylum interview.