Youngest Europe-bound migrant stranded at Belarus border

5-month-old Vida is among thousands living in makeshift tents after Belarus opened borders to EU for asylum seekers.

Youngest Europe-bound migrant stranded at Belarus border

Vida Cindi, the youngest Europe-bound migrant, is stranded at the Belarus-Poland border.

The 5-month-old baby belongs to a family of seven which has its eyes set on a life in Germany.

Up to 2,000 people are waiting at the Bruzgi border crossing and living in a makeshift facility in Grodno, Belarus.

Since August, the EU countries bordering Belarus -- Lithuania, Latvia, and Poland -- have reported a dramatically growing number of irregular crossings.

More than 8,000 people have tried to enter the bloc via the Belarus-EU border in 2021, up sharply from just 150 last year.

According to the EU, Belarus reaches out to potential travelers through seemingly official channels, including diplomatic missions and travel agencies, and invites them to Belarus by offering them visas. They are then allegedly guided to the EU border.

The Cindis left northern Iraq to escape the Daesh/ISIS and PKK terror groups, who are wreaking havoc in their hometown.

Hugir Cindi, 26, arrived in Minsk, the capital of Belarus, a month ago along with his wife Nesrin and daughter Vida. His father Ali, mother Fatma, brothers Karivan and Yaman, and sister Dahas also accompanied him.

They walked through a forest to reach the border, waited there for days, and then joined a group crossing a river to enter Poland.

However, Polish border guards captured them and pushed them back to Belarus.

The family made several failed attempts before accepting their fate and moved to the logistics hub at the border, where the Belarusian government keeps irregular migrants temporarily.

The family lives in two makeshift tents and off aid by the Belarusian people and the Red Cross.

Hugir Cindi said that they could not stay in Iraq due to the danger posed by terrorist elements. It has been 35 days since they left Iraq.

The father recalled they lived in the forest near the border for 20 days without food and water.

He said little Vida faced many difficulties on the journey.

"There was no milk, no warm environment. We stayed for five days along the border. Then we came here [the logistics hub]."

He said because they were with a baby the Belarusian authorities treated them well.

“Life here is a bit difficult. They give everything but it's not like home. It is difficult to sleep and eat in a tent in a crowd. I have a small child.”

Asking the EU to give them a residence permit, he said: "We can't stay here for another month. It is very difficult to stay here.”

Nesrin said the days are difficult and she missed home in Iraq, but going back is not an option.

Hüseyin Demir