AP Photos: Portraits of refugees along Europe migrant trail

AP News
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Posted: Oct 09, 2015 8:39 AM
AP Photos: Portraits of refugees along Europe migrant trail

Shortly after a dinghy overloaded with refugees from Syria and Iraq reached the Greek island of Lesbos, Mahmoud Naoura stood and raised his hands, chanting "Thank you God, we are safe."

Once ashore, he held his shivering daughter Huda, 5, who was injured and lost some of her sight in a government airstrike that destroyed their home in Aleppo, Syria, in 2012. He's hoping that somewhere in Europe they will find a cure.

"I just want to cure my daughter. Huda will see again, inshallah, and when she will open her eyes, I want her to see a safe environment," Mahmoud said.

More than half a million people trying to escape conflict and poverty have crossed the Mediterranean to seek what they hope will be new lives in Europe this year, more than double the figure for all of 2014. Many are fleeing the violence in Syria, but others come from Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, Eritrea and elsewhere. Once in Europe, they travel on foot and by train and bus, moving through the inhospitable countries of eastern and central Europe toward places considered more welcoming, such as Germany and Sweden.

Here is a series of portraits by Muhammed Muheisen, The Associated Press chief photographer for the Middle East, Afghanistan and Pakistan, showing 20 people at different points along the journey through Europe, from the shores of Lesbos in Greece to a bridge that takes them from Austria into Germany.

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Follow Muhammed Muheisen on Twitter at www.twitter.com/Muheisen81.