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In a powerful video, a 13-year-old Syrian boy nails the truth of the refugee crisis

Reuters/Dimitris Michalakis
Refugees arrive on the Greek island of Lesbos.
  • Hanna Kozlowska
By Hanna Kozlowska

Investigative reporter

This article is more than 2 years old.

This post has been corrected.

A video of Kinan Masalmeh, a 13-year-old Syrian refugee interviewed this week by Al Jazeera outside a Budapest train station, has gone viral on social media, probably because it eloquently explains a powerful truth about the refugee crisis: Refugees would much rather be at home than in Europe.

“The Syrians need help now,” the boy explains. “Just stop the war. We don’t want to stay in Europe. Just stop the war.”

Thousands of refugees arrive in Hungary on their way to western Europe. Many have been camped out by a Budapest train station for two days, blocked by police from boarding trains to Germany and Austria. The Hungarian prime minister Victor Orban implored refugees not to come: “Please don’t come … It’s risky to come. We can’t guarantee that you will be accepted.”

The interview comes after an image of another Syrian child–the body of a small boy lying on a beach after he drowned–sparked global outrage, even prompting some European officials to re-think their policies on hosting refugees.

A Vine version of Masalmeh’s words has also been circulating:

Correction: A previous version of this post stated incorrectly that Kinan Masalmeh was interviewed by Al Jazeera in the Hungarian town of Szeged, not in Budapest. We altered the post after being contacted by Al Jazeera.

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