Our paths crossed deep within Europe’s most ancient primeval forest. Here, bisons and wolves can roam among towering oaks. Hussan said, ‘I’m an IT professional. I lived a happy life. “But now, I’m standing in the woods naked and with dirty hands.”

Hussan (41 years old) lived in Homs, Syria, before the city was destroyed by bullets and bombs. He fled to Turkey.

When I inquired about his family, tears rolled down his faces. He then spoke English to describe his desire for sanctuary in Britain. He is instead found in Bialowieza Park, an unharmed refugee who has fled from Polish security forces, which are trying to return him to Belarus.

Because this is Europe’s most recent front line in its migration crisis. Hussan, like many others, is a victim of a cruel, global power-play being played by Alexander Lukashenko. He has lured people from Africa, the Middle East, and other countries to Belarus, before sending them to EU states.

The policy was designed to destabilize the EU and spark divisions. It forced a Ryanair plane carrying an activist for the opposition to take off to Minsk in Belarus, forcing it to change to avoid the sanctions. He was then seized by police and paraded to cameras.

Pictured: Hussan, 41, from Syria and his pregnant wife Sarah, who spent 28 days in the Bialowieza forest

Pictured are Hussan (41), from Syria, and Sarah, his wife, who spent 28 consecutive days in the Bialowieza Forest.

Europe’s political leaders accuse Lukasenko, a Russian-backed politician of initiating a hybrid war. Marcin Swiecicki (MP and ex-mayor of Warsaw) stated that refugees and asylum seekers are being taken to the border in order to intimidate Brussels and Poland. The situation is tragic.

True. However, Lukashenko’s cynical strategies seem to work. EU countries are spending millions on borders walls and bickering over how to best respond. The far-Right is seeking to profit from human misery.

Bialystok is a Polish border city. Taxi drivers told me that they have seen vehicles with UK license plates in their taxis. Pawel said, “We see so many immigrants and traffickers.” You can spot English, French and German plates in cars that come to collect people.

Germany has seen up to 1,000 migrants per day. Police have found Right-wing extremists operating in Germany’s frontier patrols.

Recently, 200 people attempted to cross the border into Lithuania. Other people are also trying to get to Europe through Ukraine.

The Mail on Sunday reported two months ago about the increase in Lithuanian immigration. But, my attention has now shifted to Poland. Officials logged 16,800 efforts at illegal entry last month – four times more each day than for the whole of last year. Hussan was among 20 other people from Syria, Egypt, and Iraq who I saw sitting by small fires and begging for food, while also drinking small amounts of water from the stream.

Pictured:  Ali Abd Alwareth, 24, from Lebanon sits in the woods outside the Emergency State zone at the Polish-Belarusian border and waits for arrival of Border Guard patrol, October 22, 2021

Pictured:  Ali Abd Alwareth, 24, from Lebanon sits in the woods outside the Emergency State zone at the Polish-Belarusian border and waits for arrival of Border Guard patrol, October 22, 2021

According to him, he was pushed across the border four times per fortnight by ghastly Belarusian and Polish guards. Other witnesses claimed that they were bounced across the border twenty times. Some reports claim that there were beatings and injuries to migrants who were ejected by Polish hospitals. Others claimed that families are trapped on the Belarusian side of a no-man’s country. There have been at least ten deaths and more are possible as temperatures fall.

Hussan stated, “I am so tired and the cold is so bad that it causes me to shake,” We hide under our clothing because we are afraid of wild animals at night.

He spent all his £1,000 savings to get here. “Life is a catastrophe. From our Syrian home, we now find ourselves trapped between two countries because no one is willing to take us into their country. However, we’re still humans.

Hussan has left Turkey with his four children and wife. His group also included an Iraqi father and his son, nine years old.

Sarah is a 5-month pregnant woman I encountered in the forest. After flying from Belarus, the 26-year old claimed that she spent 28 days in forest together with Hassan. They were then taken to Lithuania’s border by officials. After crossing the border, they were captured and taken to the Polish border. She said that they had been stopped nine times after crossing the frontier, and were then taken to Poland’s border.

The sudden influx in migrants has sparked tensions within Poland. This divided country is currently run by an ultraconservative government, at odds with Brussels over gay rights, pollution, and the supremacy EU law. The possibility exists that Poland could follow Britain’s lead and withdraw from the Union.

Mariusz Blaszczak (Polish defense minister) stated that he places the safety of his fatherland first.

According to the defense ministry, on Wednesday, Belarusian troops threatened to fire upon Polish soldiers who had found 250 refugees and migrants at their border. Nato expresses concern about an ‘escalating” situation.

Poland is one of ten countries that asked Brussels to pay for ‘barriers’ to block migrants – a request denied by EU chief Ursula von der Leyen, who says Brussels should not fund ‘barbed wire and walls’. In defiance, Poland is spending £300 million on a wall along the 260-mile border with Belarus. Critics warn that it could be costly and fail, as the wall will take many years to build. Lithuania also began building a steel fence 11ft high with razor wire at its frontier.

Polish officials declared a state emergency. 10,000 Polish troops were sent to support frontier guards. Outsiders are prohibited from entering the area within 3km (1.9miles) of it.

An Iraqi migrant child (pictured centre)  stands as he and others are surrounded by border guards and police officers after they crossed the Belarusian-Polish border during the ongoing migrant crisis, in Hajnowka

An Iraqi migrant child (pictured centre)  stands as he and others are surrounded by border guards and police officers after they crossed the Belarusian-Polish border during the ongoing migrant crisis, in Hajnowka

Ministers in Belarus claim that Belarus gives migrants “strange pills” and heroin to aid them through border crossings.

I arrived at the border and received a text message stating that the Polish border was sealed. BLR [Belarus]You were told lies by authorities Return to Minsk Do not take pills from Belarusian soldiers. My car was pulled over several times by checkpoints around the area.

Piotr Mazaruk, a commandant of the border police, stated that “these migrants are like rocks.” These migrants are being tossed over the Belarusian border to us by their people. We throw them back. Last week, ministers refused to grant permission for Catholic clergy leaders to allow medical volunteers into the emergency room. Activists and opposition figures argue that such decisions, and forcing people back over the border, flout international treaties – and so plays into Lukashenko’s hands.

Karolina Cierwinska (project coordinator for the Polish Migration Forum) told me of a Polish refugee who had been treated in a Polish hospital for a broken leg and applied for asylum. She said that 24 hours later the Polish authorities sent him back home to Belarus.

Grupa Granica volunteers take food and drink to people who are able to send information about their locations in forests to relatives and friends. They then play “cat-and-mouse” with border force agents hunting them down. A volunteer said that people from Belarus believed they could easily cross the border through Poland and Germany. They arrived in freezing forests completely unprepared.

Pictured: Polish soldiers build a fence on the border between Poland and Belarus near the village of Nomiki

Pictured: Polish soldiers build a fence on the border between Poland and Belarus near the village of Nomiki

Her search led her to a Syrian family that had elderly grandparents, and three-year-old children. It was awful. The German border was hundreds of miles away and they had no idea that the forest where they were located. They thought it would all be easy.

Poland says it respects international obligations towards migrants in its efforts to stop the flow of people. EU law requires that asylum seekers apply in the country of their choice. Many migrants who are hoping to travel further west don’t want asylum in Poland. An ex-minister in the Polish government stated that although it isn’t legal at all, pushback has been a common practice along many European borders like Greece and Italy.

He claimed that Belarus was targeting Poland to retaliate for Belarus’s strong support of democratic anti-Lukashenko movements in Belarus. However, he was unable to end the regime without more diplomatic support.

While Belarus promises to stop flights from Iraq used by migrants but the Winter Schedule for Minsk Airport shows 55 weekly flights. The schedule also includes the daily launch of flights from Damascus (the capital of Syria), every day. Some refugee stories have been told that they were taken to Belarusian borders straight after landing in Minsk. Local journalists describe the center of the city’s capital as “Little Baghdad”, as so many people are from the Middle East. However, a human-rights worker informed me that hotels in the capital are crowded with Middle Easterners. Many want to travel to Germany. Angela Merkel in 2015 agreed to let one million migrants and refugees stay. Despite the fact that the number of people making this journey is much smaller than it was six years ago the Berlin government quickly moved thousands more police officers to the Polish border in an effort to increase security. However, the police union is warning about another “collapse” if it isn’t taken more aggressively.

Horst Seehofer (interior minister) supports Poland’s border wall plan. However, other politicians condemned their responses, which could lead to people dying in the forests.

Gerhart Baum (an ex-interior minister) said, “This is an embarrassment for Europe.” These people have a moral responsibility that we cannot ignore.

Gaith (20 years old) is from Syria and has applied for asylum in Germany. He told me he paid $7,000 (£5,200) in Lebanon for a fake passport but it was rumbled when he tried to enter Turkey. To ensure that he could travel to Europe, his smuggler flew him from Lebanon to Minsk.

‘I was stuck in the forest for 11 days – it was like a game of ping-pong. You are sent back by the Polish police to Belarus and then you get returned to Poland by the Belarusian police. I’ve had it happen to me 20 times. Although the Poles were kind and gave us water and food, the Belarusians were brutal and would bite anyone they wanted. Because the forest was so dark and cold, I felt scared. There were so many people from all over the world – from Syria, Iraq, Sudan, Lebanon.’

The Belarusian authorities eventually took the group to a point on the Polish border without any Polish police. He and his five-strong team made it through. His people-traffickers hired taxis to meet them and they were driven to Berlin.

Pictured: In this aerial view trucks and cars cross a bridge over the Oder River between Germany (L) and Poland as a railway bridge stands farther behind on November 05, 2021 near Swiecko, Poland (stock image)

Pictured: Cars and trucks cross the Oder River bridge (L), in this aerial view. A railway bridge is further behind, on November 5, 2021, near Swiecko (stock image).

Two weeks ago, the explosive nature of this crisis was made clear when more than 50 vigilantes from far-Right Germany armed with pepper sprays, batons, and machetes were arrested by anti-migrant police.

Third Way was a tiny extremist group that broke from the neo Nazi National Democratic Party. They responded. This group informed me that it was sending “sympathisers” to the border patrols to search for illegal immigrants.

Sascha Rosmueller said the party’s chairman in Bavaria that unarmed police officers abided by laws that allowed them to physically hold anyone they suspect of being involved in a crime.

He stated that the crucial part is not to prevent mass migration, but rather it allows for us to draw attention.

Also, protests took place near the border at centres for asylum-seekers.

‘This is evil genius but we all play Lukashenko’s game,’ says Greta von der Decken, legal adviser for a refugee group working in Eisenhüttenstadt, a town by the Polish border. “I’m sad that Lukashenko wins.