More refugees and migrants from Syria are choosing an Arctic route to enter Europe and escape conflict in their country. They are entering Norway across its border with Russia. Norwegian police say around 300 Syrians have arrived in the Scandinavian country by way of Russia so far this year. The number is about 10 times that for the whole of last year.
Many Syrians taking this route to reach Europe apparently come from Damascus and adjacent areas.
They obtain visas to visit Russia, a close ally of the administration of President Bashar al-Assad, and fly to Moscow before moving to the Arctic border by train and car.
Travel on foot is banned in the border zone and drivers in Norway are fined if they carry undocumented people in their cars. To dodge these restrictions, Syrians obtain bicycles in Russia to cross the border.
The Norwegian government plans to accept 8,000 refugees. In anticipation of a further increase in asylum seekers from Syria, the authorities are building a facility to accommodate them in Kirkenes, a town near the border with Russia.