UK border guards on alert for ‘fake Syrian’ refugees

Migrants wait for a train as they stand on a platform at a railway station in Vienna, Austria September 11, 2015. © Heinz-Peter Bader
Border guards vetting entrants to the UK are on high alert for illegal immigrants using fake Syrian passports to pose as refugees fleeing the conflict, British media reports.

European Union border agency Frontext has issued warnings to the UK and other EU member states saying there are a growing number of stolen or fake Syrian documents being used by illegal immigrants, The Times reports.

Sources told the paper that illegal immigrants from Iraq, Pakistan, Albania and Palestine had been found posing as Syrians using forged papers.

It comes after nearly 4,000 blank Syrian passports were reportedly stolen in 2014. They are believed to have been taken by criminal gangs who sell them for up to £4,000 each.

Smugglers transporting illegal immigrants use forged documentation as a vital part of their services, believing their customers are more likely to be granted asylum if they have a passport. 

It has further been reported that terrorists are attempting to exploit the chaos of the refugee crisis to gain access to European states. 

French police are believed to be tracking a suspected extremist who is hiding in the Calais camp and is thought to be planning terror attacks in Britain.

Daily French newspaper La Voix du Nord said the suspect is being hunted by officers in the so-called “New Jungle,” a temporary camp in Calais that houses 3,000 migrants and refugees attempting to reach the UK. 

The man is believed to have left Syria at the end of August with the intention of entering Britain. 

It is difficult for police in the area to enter the camp, meaning a public arrest would be virtually impossible. Instead plain-clothes officers and undercover police are working to track down the man. 

He has been labeled ‘S-rated’ by the French authorities, which means he is considered a danger to “the safety of the state.

‘Too little, too late’ 

Meanwhile, leading cultural figures in Britain have signed a joint statement calling for the UK to take in more refugees.

The group of actors, singers, and celebrities say the government pledge to take in 20,000 refugees by 2020 is “too little, too late.”

Among the figures are household names such as Sir Anish Kapoor, Jamie Oliver, Keira Knightley, Jude Law, Sir Michael Caine, Colin Firth and Benedict Cumberbatch.

They say the country has a responsibility to shelter displaced people.

“A responsibility that should be shared with our European neighbors and not simply shouldered by the countries closest to the turbulence driving people from their homes.

“Whilst we appreciate the UK government’s recent commitments on refugee resettlement, we worry that this is too little, too late,” the group says.

“We urge the UK government to wake up to the urgency of the current crisis and work with its European counterparts to offer immediate humanitarian help and agree long-term solutions to refugee resettlement.”