Bulgarian news outlets are reporting the story of Bashar al-Lababidi, a Syrian refugee who spent weeks living in a Bulgarian forest with his two small children after fleeing Syria.
Lababidi fled Syria after his wife was killed and his home destroyed in a regime bombing in Aleppo.
Bashar said spent 14 hours walking in the woods along the Turkey-Bulgaria border, carrying his two children, both under three years old. He stumbled across the border, where he was discovered by border authorities. By that time, both he and his children were sick and in a terrible state.
During the journey from Syria, both children fell sick. The youngest, Lilia, who is just eight months old, is now in a pediatric hospital in the Bulgarian capital Sofia. Doctors say that at this stage the child is in stable condition, but they cannot guarantee that she will survive.
Lababidi says that he worked as an accountant in Aleppo before the conflict.
Syrian news outlet Zaman al-Wasl, which has also reported on the story, says that Lababidi told them via an activist intermediary that other refugees had died en route to Bulgaria. Some refugees had been attacked by bandits while others had died of hunger.
Lababidi is currently living in a refugee camp in Ovcha Kupel, a neighborhood in the southwest of Sofia.
A video news report of the story is available here in Bulgarian, by Bulgaria’s TV7.