Sub-Saharan migrants in Morocco trying to reach Spain are fleeing their makeshift forest camps near Tangiers to escape police raids.
Recently, migrants have been travelling to Morocco in ever increasing numbers in a bid to reach Spain via the Strait of Gibraltar.
This new turn of events follows Italy’s refusal to accept humanitarian aid boats and an increased effort by the Italian Navy to intercept smugglers boats at sea.
Civil rights groups in Morocco claim this is the biggest crackdown on migrants since 2015.
Many of the migrants now hiding out in the forest near Tangiers claim that police smashed down the doors of apartments where they were staying and confiscated money they were going to use to pay smugglers to get them to Spain.
Now the migrants claim police are trying to round them up and put them on buses in an effort to get them away from the coast.
Those who managed to escape the latest raids say they now have no money and nowhere left to hide from the authorities.
Mustapha El Khalfi, a Morocco government spokesman said: The country can no longer let its territory shelter human trafficking networks and refuses to play the role of gendarme of the region.
Authorities in Morocco claim they prevented 65,000 migrants from crossing from Morocco to Spain in 2017.