Refugee children clear the snow at the front of their camp at a hotel in Riksgransen, Sweden. REUTERS/Ints Kalnins
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Far above Sweden's Arctic Circle, two dozen refugees stepped off a night train onto a desolate, snow-covered platform, their Middle Eastern odyssey abruptly ending at a hotel touted as the world's most northerly ski resort. It was Sweden's latest attempt to house a record influx of asylum seekers. It is some 200 kilometers north of the Arctic Circle and a two-hour bus ride to the nearest town – if the road is not closed by snow.It is an example of the extremes Sweden is going to in order to house some 160,000 refugees this year in a country of 10 million people. Riksgransen will be home until the ski season starts in February, but many face more than a year's wait until they get news of asylum requests.Wael al-Shater was a chef at a 60-table restaurant called Sky View in Homs, specializing in chicken. He had aspirations and applied to study as a chef in Cyprus, but never got a visa. He had friends in Dubai but didn't want to live outside Syria.Sitting along dark corridors, refugees' faces are illuminated by flickering smartphone screens.
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