AP PHOTOS: For newest arrivals to Europe lots of emotion

AP News
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Posted: Sep 18, 2015 7:08 AM
AP PHOTOS: For newest arrivals to Europe lots of emotion

MYTILENE, Greece (AP) — It's a small step in a long and uncertain escape from civil war and the Islamic State in Syria and difficult circumstances in other nations — but perhaps one of the most emotional.

The beaches of Sikamia (pronounced si-kam-YAH) on the eastern Greek island of Lesbos are Europe's busiest landing point for people desperate to reach the continent.

On a typical day, more than 20 dinghies and boats arrive here, packed mostly with people who cannot swim.

New arrivals face a three-day mountainous trek to island's main town before the start-stop journey begins in earnest across countries that do little to make them feel welcome.

But before it all begins again, there's a brief moment to celebrate on the beaches of Lesbos.

Parents hug their young children, many showing an outburst of relief and emotion, a sight that leaves few who scramble over rocks to record it unaffected.

Here is a gallery of images by Associated Press Photographer Petros Giannakouris capturing scenes of people arriving in Europe.