Hesham Modamani looked out at the sea separating him and his dream of getting to Europe, the continent that could finally free him from the horrors back at home in Syria. The 24-year old felt nervous.
Modamani couldn’t afford to pay the $1,350 ticket for a smuggler to ferry him across the channel between the coast of Turkey and the nearest Greek island.
Swimming, he decided, was his best chance. The one-time college student had traveled all the way from the Damascus suburb of Daraya to Turkey’s west coast. He couldn’t give up now.
Modamani turned to his new friend and accomplice Feras Abukhalil, a fellow Syrian. They strapped on their blue life vests and packed away their passports and cell phones in waterproof bags.
Then they jumped.