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"You only die once in your life"- Syrian migrant in Italy

Thursday, April 16, 2015 - 01:33

Twin brothers from Syria recount crossing to Italy, with one saying, ''You only die once in your life, we decided to risk dying trying to reach here.'' Deborah Lutterbeck reports.

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The number of migrants reaching Italy by sea this year is set to top last year's record of 170,000. In the past week alone 10,000 have arrived. Survivors say another 400 people drowned before making it to Italy's shores. Many lived through capsizing boats and tell tales of clinging to life as others around them drowned. Syrian migrants Mohammed and Iyla, 25-year old twins from Aleppo, survived such a journey. They told the UNHCR they paid more than 3,000 dollars for the journey, and were badly treated by smugglers. (SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) 25-YEAR-OLD TWIN BROTHER SYRIAN REFUGEE, IYLA, SAYING: "They took so much money from us. They locked us in a room for a long time, feeding us a bit of cheese and bread once a day. It was torture." They had little choice. (SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) SYRIAN REFUGEE, MOHAMMED, SAYING: "If we had stayed in the Middle East, we would have died. You only die once in your life, we decided to risk dying trying to reach here." The journey itself was a near death experience. (SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) 25-YEAR-OLD TWIN BROTHER SYRIAN REFUGEE, MOHAMMED, SAYING: "We were thinking we were going to die any minute, every time it shook we felt it was going to capsize. We had children onboard, we were very scared and didn't move to protect them." The number of migrants from Syria and sub-Saharan Africa has soared in the last two years with unrest in Libya, civil war in Syria and the surge of Islamic State militants in Iraq.

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"You only die once in your life"- Syrian migrant in Italy

Thursday, April 16, 2015 - 01:33