Europe

From Damascus to Rouen: A Syrian dancer’s long road to refuge

Over the course of the 10-year conflict in Syria, millions of Syrians were pushed over the borders in search of refuge from the killing and brutality of war.

Dorado Jadiba was one of them – and his path to safety in Europe was a long one.

The dancer, now 31, left his hometown of Damascus, Syria’s capital, shortly after the start of the conflict, after he was wounded by shrapnel during an airstrike.

He embarked on a journey that would involve crossing Lebanon, Iran, Turkey, spending two months in a refugee camp in Greece, and suffering illegal pushbacks along the rest of the way.

“I entered Croatia and Croatian police took me all the way back to Serbia. So I was lost and didn’t know what to do. I wanted to go back to Croatia so I entered Bosnia and then Croatia again. Then I entered Slovenia,” he tells Euronews.

“In Slovenia police asked me: ‘Do you want to be a refugee with us?’ And I said ‘no I want to go to France’. And so then they took me back to Croatia and the Croatians took me all the way to Serbia again.”

While Dorado travelled, the war that forced him from his home came nowhere near a resolution.

Throughout the last decade, multiple attempts to find a solution to the conflict have failed. From initiatives launched by the Arab League in 2011, to talks brokered by Russia, the UN, Turkey and Kazakhstan. Conferences in Geneva, Vienna, involving officials from the US, the EU, Russia, China, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Turkey and Iran – nothing has worked.

Civilians suffered not only the physical danger of war, but also the collapse of the economy and the Syrian pound, which drove down salaries and drove up prices.

The UN World Food Program has warned that 60% of the population are at risk of going hungry.

Despite these problems, Bashar Assad remains in control of around two-thirds of the country.

After a wave of uprisings that saw regimes toppled across much of the region, Syria’s leader could, in theory, claim victory.

“Nobody won this war. We lost a lot of things. I lost many of my friends, my cousin. All Syrian families lost someone,” says Dorado Jadiba.

Watch Dorado’s story in the video player above.

In a series of reports on Syria on the 10th anniversary of the start of the conflict, Euronews explores the war through the personal experiences of people forced to flee Syria and seek refuge in Europe.

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