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Migrants head to Greece as Turkey opens the doors

Video credit: Reuters Studio
Published on March 1, 2020 - Duration: 02:07s

Migrants head to Greece as Turkey opens the doors

Greece placed its borders on maximum security footing on Sunday after hundreds of migrants used porous crossing points to enter the country from Turkey, with thousands behind them seeking entry after Ankara relaxed curbs on their movement.

Soraya Ali reports.

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Migrants head to Greece as Turkey opens the doors

Thousands of migrants gathered at Turkey's border with Greece on Sunday (March 1) - seeking entry after Ankara relaxed curbs on their movement.

Turkey said on Thursday (February 27) that it would no longer restrain the hundreds of thousands of asylum seekers in its territory from reaching Europe after an airstrike on Idlib in neighboring Syria killed 33 Turkish soldiers.

That announcement prompted a rush to the borders it shares with EU member Greece from migrants like 20-year-old Syrian Mohammed Ali Bilal.

(SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) 20-YEAR-OLD SYRIAN MIGRANT, MOHAMMED ALI BILAL, SAYING: "We won't give up.

We insist on going through, God willing, because we can't live here anymore.

We're working for nothing here, everything is pointless.

We can't go to school.

We can't do anything." The International Organization for Migration put the number of people along the Turkish border at 13,000 and some are already taking at-times perilous journeys to Greece.

The Turkish coastguard reportedly rescued some 50 migrants on Sunday after an overcrowded dinghy sank off Turkey's coast.

It was heading for the Greek island Lesbos where a Greek police official said hundreds had arrived on Sunday morning.

Further north others are wading across a river near Kastanies on the shared border.

That Greek town was the site of clashes on Saturday (Feb 29) as riot police used teargas to repel hundreds of people.

Greece has said there was an orchestrated attempt to breach its borders, and has accused Turkey of actively guiding migrants.

The country, which was the gateway to Europe for hundreds of thousands of asylum seekers in 2015 and 2016, currently hosts more than 40,000 migrants on the Aegean, living in severely overcrowded camps and filthy conditions.

It has vowed to keep a mass influx of migrants out and Greece's Prime Minister has called a national security council meeting.

The European Union says it is supporting Greece.

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