ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – Austrian police announced on Wednesday that they had stopped and seized a van that contained 22 Iraqis and Syrians of various ages near the country's eastern border.
The Associated Press reported that the Romanian-registered vehicle had driven through Hungary before entering the Austrian state of Burgenland. Local police then stopped them near the border in a small village named Rattersdorf.
Officials discovered that the van contained 16 Iraqis: 13 men, two women, and a three-year-old boy as well as six Syrian men, none of whom were carrying identification documents and all of whom requested asylum. The AP report added that the police had promptly arrested the Romanian driver, 40, and impounded the vehicle.
Since 2016, Austria has set a limit on the number of Asylum seekers it was accepting, which is at 30,000 as of 2018.
Due to the war with the Islamic State (IS) and years-long instability in Syria and Iraq, many people from the two countries have fled to Turkey to find an immigration corridor into Europe.
In mid-October, a truck carrying multiple migrants overturned in Turkey, killing 19 and wounding 11.
Just days earlier, at least 34 migrants, some of them from the Kurdistan Region, drowned in the Aegean Sea in a failed attempt to seek refuge in Europe after the boat they were in capsized.
Editing by John J. Catherine