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Turkiye accused of preventing Syrian migrants crossing into Greece

The Greek customs checkpoint can be seen on the border area between Greece and Turkey on 14 June 2021 in Kastanies, Greece. [Byron Smith/Getty Images]
The Greek customs checkpoint can be seen on the border area between Greece and Turkey on 14 June 2021 in Kastanies, Greece. [Byron Smith/Getty Images]

Turkish security forces have been accused of preventing hundreds of Syrian migrants from crossing into Greece, a representative of the migrant group organising a convoy dubbed "Caravan of Light" said on Wednesday.

"We wanted to cross the border and they refused," a spokesperson for the group told Reuters. "There were around 600 people in the convoy. We were blocked."

Video footage filmed by the migrants showed Turkish security personnel dragging away those of them who had gathered with their bags in a rural area. According to the spokesperson, who requested anonymity, the incident took place on Tuesday.

Reuters could not independently verify the date that the video was filmed, but the location was identifiable as the highway leading to the Greece-Turkiye border. The local governor's office which covers the area was not immediately available to comment on the incident.

Last weekend, Greek police said that they rescued 92 illegal migrants who were discovered naked close to the northern border with Turkiye. Some of them had injuries.

They said that an investigation in Greece by police officers and officials from the EU Frontex border agency found evidence that the migrants crossed a river into Greek territory in rubber dinghies from Turkiye. Ankara dismissed accusations that it had mistreated them and accused Greece of covering up its own poor treatment of the migrants.

Greece was on the frontline of a European migration crisis in 2015 and 2016, when around a million refugees fleeing war and poverty in Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan arrived in Europe, mainly via Turkiye. The number of arrivals has fallen since then, but the Greek authorities have said that they had recently seen an increase in attempted arrivals through the Turkish land border and the Greek islands.

READ: Cargo ship fired on by Greek boats resumes journey in Turkey

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Europe & RussiaGreeceMiddle EastNewsSyriaTurkey
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