Syrian man's body found near Poland-Belarus border amid tensions over migrant crisis

The body of a young Syrian man was found in Poland near the border with Belarus, the Polish police said on Saturday.

Thousands of migrants from the Middle East seek shelter on the border between Belarus and the EU states Poland and Lithuania in icy conditions that refuse them passage. Some have already died and there are fears for the safety of others as bitter winter conditions set in.

“Yesterday, the body of a young Syrian was found in the forest near the border near Wolka Terechowska,” said the Podlaska police on Twitter.

According to the police, the cause of death could not be determined at the scene.

The discovery comes amid mounting international tension related to the crisis. Belarusian neighbors warn that the situation could escalate into military conflict and US President Joe Biden expressed concern.

Belarus said on Saturday that the number of migrants arriving in a makeshift camp at the border was increasing daily and that a group of up to 100 had entered Polish territory.

“There is a group (of migrants) near the border crossing … They are actually on Polish territory. Up to 100 people, ”the RIA news agency quoted the Belarusian State Border Committee as saying.

Polish border guards said Belarusian soldiers tore open part of the temporary fence erected by Poles during the night to deter migrants.

Russian President Vladimir Putin, a key ally of Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko, said Belarus had nothing to do with the refugee crisis.

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On Saturday, Polish Interior Minister Mariusz Kaminski told private broadcaster RMF FM that he would meet with the US director of the National Intelligence Service Avril Haines next week to discuss the situation. He said around 1,500 people camped on the border and that number is growing.

Poland, Austria, Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia have asked international aid organizations to organize humanitarian and medical aid in Belarus in order to “avoid tragedies and prevent (a) humanitarian crisis” on the Polish border.

According to the Polish border guards, there were 219 attempts to illegally cross the border on Friday. The Lithuanian border guards say 144 migrants tried to enter on Friday.

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