Greece says it has prevented almost 10.000 illegal entries of migrants at its Evros border with Turkey in the last 24 hours. According to government sources, 9,972 people were prevented from entering the Greek territory across the Evros border form 9 a.m. Saturday to 6 a.m. Sunday.
The attempts were organized, the sources told state media.
“Around 2 o’ clock in the morning there was an organized mass movement by a large group of young immigrants who tried to enter Greek territory from a place called the Kastanies Forest just north of the Greek-Turkish border crossing, where there is no fence.”
Half an hour earlier, Army and Police forces had “identified the preparations for this movement.” The Army has installed additional artificial obstacles and signs over night.
Footage showed on Saturday, how migrants used cutters to the barbed wire border to make their way to Greece.
From late afternoon Saturday until the early night hours organized groups of migrants were throwing stones, tear gas, incandescent woods and irons bars to the Greek side. Some were holding knives and threatening,” the same sources said.
Teargas canisters belonging to the Turkish Gendarme were found on Greek territory. Who fired them? Turkish border guards or migrants being supplied with them, as Greek media said? Expired date: May 2016.
73 people were arrested for illegally entering Greece on Saturday. “They have nothing to do with Idlib, Syria. They come from Afghanistan, Pakistan, Somalia.” the sources added.
Another 60 people were arrested on Friday, they were taken to court and sentenced to 3 years imprisonment without parole, Greek media reported.
It is not clear, how many thousands refugees and migrants are currently in the buffer zone along the 214-km borders between the two countries.
According to the International Migration Organization, more than 13,000 people currently are along the borders.
🚨 At least 13,000 migrants including families with young children are facing another night of near-freezing conditions along the Turkish-Greek border. More here: https://t.co/a6CchXshda
— IOM Turkey (@IOMturkey) March 1, 2020
— IOM Turkey (@IOMturkey) February 29, 2020
Turkey’s Interior Minister claimed this morning that “76,358 migrants have left Turkey via the city of Edirne.”
Saat 09.55 itibarıyla Edirne üzerinden ülkemizden ayrılan göçmen sayısı; 76.358
— Süleyman Soylu (@suleymansoylu) March 1, 2020
Despite questions posted by Turkish, Greek and other nationals, he did not bother to elaborate where all these thousands of people go and where they are now.
On Friday, Turkey opened its border gates to Greece and let thousands in the buffer zone, after falsely informing them that the borders were open and were allowed to Europe. President Erdogan said on Saturday that the border gates will remain open.
Independently of how many they are, thousands spent the night outdoors in the cold, without logistic supplies.
According to state ERT TV, thousands keep flocking to the Evros border, mostly young men, fewer women and children, compared to Saturday.
Greek Armed Forces, Police and Coast Guard are on high alert, deployment of extra forces to the border continues.
At the same time, boats carrying refugees and migrants started to reach the islands of Lesvos, Chios and Samos, following a weather improvement. More than 500 people arrived on the three islands since the early morning hours of Sunday, Greek media report at noon.