Syrian refugees crossing the border into Turkey
Ali Jamal travelled thousands of miles on foot, by train and road to flee violence in Syria while Jomaah piled his family into a camper van to smuggle them north to Europe.
They have now reached safety in Sweden, some of the growing thousands of Syrians who are evading the European Union's frontier controls to escape the turmoil of the past 18 months, reports Reuters.
That is raising calls for a more focused European response to a refugee crisis that has seen over 200,000 Syrians flee to Jordan, Iraq, Lebanon and, especially, Turkey. From there, a determined, and usually richer, few press on to the EU borders, mainly into Greece, with most hoping for asylum further north.
Sweden alone, 2,500 km (1,500 miles) from Turkey's European frontier, is expecting 17,000 Syrians to show up seeking refuge this year and next, reflecting a sharply rising trend across the continent; barely a tenth of that number reached Sweden in the first half of this year - itself a marked increase on 2011.
"I crossed a river and someone said, 'You're in Europe. No one can stop you now'," said Jamal, a student from Idlib, recalling the relative ease of reaching a refugee centre in Kopingebro, southern Sweden, after a tough trek into Greece.
Fearing a call-up to President Bashar al-Assad's army, by which his brother had lately been killed trying to desert, the 24-year-old said he felt he had to flee. He spent two days zig-zagging through the mountains of north-western Syria, dodging bombs and roadblocks to reach the relative safety of Turkey.
With some 75,000 Syrians already registered there, and the United Nations forecasting up to 200,000 could eventually cram in to camps in Turkey, those who can afford it are casting their hopes further afield; Jamal, speaking at the asylum reception hostel in Kopingebro, near Ystad, said he spent 25 days in Turkey before embarking on a shadowy journey overland northward.
Like Jomaah, who spent thousands of dollars hiring a minivan and driver in Turkey to take his family on a clandestine odyssey across Europe, Jamal offered few details of a trip outside the law; but Syrians see it as their only option to escape danger when formal, visa-limited outward travel is all but impossible.
When Jamal's brother was among a group of Syrian soldiers shot in March as they tried to desert, his mind was made up: "I am wanted in Syria," he said. "I don't want to fight and kill people. I want to study. I want to live a normal life."
The secrecy of illegal border crossings and the patchiness of statistics combining data from the 27 EU member states means the full picture of Syrian migration into the bloc is unclear.
But Germany saw almost as many apply for asylum in the first seven months of this year - 2,246 - as in all of 2011, while Britain and several other countries also report rising figures, according to data from the EU statistics agency, Eurostat.
Fearing a rise in illicit crossings, Greece is boosting patrols on its border with Turkey; EU border agency Frontex said there was a twelvefold rise in Syrians caught trying to cross the Greek-Turkish frontier illegally in the six months to June.
But if nearly 2,400 were stopped, Eurostat said 12,325 Syrians had lodged asylum appeals across the EU from January to June - a figure likely to understate the numbers coming in, due to delays in collating data and the fact that not all register.