Syrian refugees reach Norway from Russia on cycles

Copenhagen, Sep 3 (IANS) Norwegian authorities on Thursday warned that a growing number of Syrian asylum seekers were crossing into the Nordic country from Russia on bicycles.

According to Norwegian public television NRK, the ban on crossing the border through the Storskog crossing forced refugees to find a new way into Europe — through Russia and into the Norwegian Arctic, most of them cycling across the border, EFE news reported.

“So far this year, we have 150 asylum seekers,” head of the local police at Kirkenes, Hans Møllebakken, said noting that the big difference is now that they use bikes to cross the border.

The figure, according to local authorities, has increased tenfold from last year. On Wednesday, eight new asylum seekers, including three children reached Norway.

People fleeing the conflict in Syria often go first to Lebanon, then to Moscow, then to the border town of Nikel, located about seven km from Norway, which is not a member of the European Union but belongs to the Schengen Area — free movement among 26 European countries.

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