• Spain’s N. African enclave entry point for desperate Syrian asylum seekers •
The number of Syrian refugees willing to brave Moroccan smuggling rings and barbed wire to reach the Spanish North African enclave of Melilla is expected to rise in 2016, as the tide of asylum seekers attempting to reach Europe via Spain shows no signs of abatiing.
On the Moroccan side of the barbed wire fence with Melilla, hundreds of Syrian men, women and children refugees gather with other migrants to find smugglers who can provide the best route to evade the Spanish border checkpoint and reach the Melilla CETI (Centre for Temporary Stay of Immigrants), where they can claim asylum.
Those who are accepted at the CETI are housed for up to four months in facilities designed for 660 adults — but currently sheltering more than 1,800, some 500 of whom are children. Every Wednesday, up to 200 of those refugees who can provide proper paperwork are transported to the Spanish mainland at Malaga, from where most continue their journey to northern Europe in search of jobs, stability and security.