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EU Border Patrol Agency Says Greece Facing Refugee, Migrant Onslaught

March 2, 2020

Greece should expect its borders to be assaulted with a mass influx of more refugees and migrants from Turkey, on land and by sea, the European Union’s border and Coast Guard agency Frontex has reportedly warned.

That was according to a confidential report leaked to the German newspaper Die Welt which was to have said that Turkey will step up letting refugees and migrants reach the border, where thousands massed along the northern Evros River and hundreds were coming to Greek islands on rubber dinghies and rickety craft.

“It will be difficult to stop the massive flow of people who have set out on their journey,” an internal Frontex report said, according to the paper.

“That is why we can expect an increase in pressure in the coming days — even in the event that Turkish authorities act to prevent people from crossing the border,” it added.

The crisis worsened when Turkey opened its borders with Greece to let refugees and migrants, who had gone to Turkey fleeing war and strife in their homelands and were trying to reach the European Union, get to the borders with Greece.

That was Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s response to the deaths of dozens of Turkish soldiers in an area of northern Syria that Turkey had invaded, and as he blamed the EU for not living up to its end of a 2016 swap deal in which Turkey was supposed to hold back people trying to reach Europe and to take back those who didn’t get sanctuary.

The Frontest report added that pressure on the EU’s external border is expected to intensify even if Turkish authorities restore curbs on migrant movement and that fake news and disinformation is adding to the dilemma.
Greece requested the deployment of Frontex’s Rapid Border Intervention Team (RABIT) to help guard the borders although the EU agency has had teams for the last four years who have been unable to stop the incursions.

Greece has also stepped up its effort, using more police and the army, but the Turkish Coast Guard is no longer even trying to stop refugees and migrants being sent by human traffickers who had already been allowed to operate during the essentially suspended EU swap deal.

Greece also responded by conducting military exercises using real ammunition near the Evros land border with Turkey, by the Fourth Army Corps, which is charged with defending the Greek-Turkish borders in Thrace and the Aegean Sea, said Kathimerini.

Machine guns, rifles and pistols would be used during the exercise, the army said while imposing a ban on the movement of persons, vehicles and animals and livestock during the 24-hour drill.

An automated text message sent to mobile phones in the northern border areas said Greece had increased its security to a maximum, also urging people not to attempt to enter there.

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