"The number of migrants coming to Egypt over the southern border with Sudan has increased recently," said Mohammed al-Kashef from the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights, who has studied migration in the coastal city of Alexandria for years.
His estimation is shared by the UN refugee agency UNHCR, which has painted the same picture: the old smuggling route through the south-Egyptian desert is on the rise and so are attempts to cross the Mediterranean from Egypt. So far, however, no exact figures have been produced due to shady nature of the trafficking business.
"Everything depends on how the EU's agreements with Turkey will work. Instead of the closed roads across the sea to Greece or the Balkans, the fleeing Syrians may switch to Egypt via Sudan," al-Kashef said.
Seventeen-year old Adnan (assumed name) is one of the migrants who availed themselves of the newly found route. He came in through the desert with his fellow migrants in a body of a truck.
"The smugglers told us to get a firm grip. If someone fell off, they would have been deserted," Adnan told Swedish Radio.
In exchange for its readiness to shut the door for illegal migrants, Turkey received a four billion dollar package to bolster its refugee camps and was promised visa-free access to the EU for Turkish citizens, as well as prospects to become a full-fledged EU member. Simultaneously, however, many EU states expressed reservation, citing "insufficient democratic standards in Turkey."