Refugees make dangerous sea crossing to Greece after clampdown in Turkey

Refugees and displaced

Saturday 10 August 2019 | 1:44 AM Damascus Time

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  • Refugees make dangerous sea crossing to Greece after clampdown in Turkey


    The hostile environment for Syrian, Iraqi, Afghan, and other refugees in Turkey led to sharp rise in number of refugees trying to reach Greece, a monitoring organisation has said.

    The Aegean Boat Reportwhich collects information about refugees arriving in Greece from Turkey, said on its Facebook page that the Turkish Coastguard had stopped 111 boats in the week between 29th July and 4th August.

    Around 3,350 refugees were detained by the coastguard, the highest number of migrants picked up during a seven-day period since 2015, when the refugee crisis was at its height.

    Another 44 boats, carrying 1,326 refugees, managed to evade the Turkish coastguard and land on Greek islands in the Aegean Sea.

    There have been several incidents where refugees have drowned as they made the perilous journey from Turkey to the Greek Islands.

    In 2016, Turkey and the European Union agreed to a deal under which refugees arriving in Greece would be returned to Turkey.

    While the deal did reduce the flow of migrants trying to claim asylum in Europe, refugee support groups have said that it violates international law.

    They also said the pact has made conditions worse for refugees both in Europe and in Turkey.

    Thousands of refugees are being held indefinitely in overcrowded camps on Greek islands while Athens decides whether to grant asylum to the migrants or return them to Turkey.

    However, conditions in Turkey have made refugees increasingly desperate to reach Greece and other EU countries.

    "The issue is complex but most of the rise in the number of refugees arriving in Greece is due to the political shift in Turkey. People are afraid of being sent back to Syria or Afghanistan," a spokesperson for Aegean Boat Report told The New Arab

    Turkey currently hosts over 3,500,000 Syrians as well as a smaller number of refugees from Iraq, Afghanistan and other countries.

    Syrians in Istanbul now face an uncertain fate after the Istanbul municipality gave refugees registered in other Turkish provinces until 20 August to leave the city.

    Source: The New Arab.

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