July 25, 2024

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At Polish Border, Migrants Say Belarus Waved Them Through

MINSK, Belarus—Word went out across Iraq on Facebook, YouTube and Telegram: The landlocked former Soviet republic of Belarus was offering an easy gateway to a new life in the European Union. Brothers Araz and Anad Shawkat decided this was their best shot to escape the hardships of home.

Last month, the 20-something siblings paid more than $4,000 for two “invitations” to visit Belarus and plane tickets to fly there from Iraq via Syria. When they arrived at the airport in Minsk, immigration officers waved them through, along with scores of other Iraqis from the packed flight.