Clashes between Greek police, migrants reported on Turkish border

Thousands of refugees and migrants are trying to enter Greece through the country’s eastern land border with Turkey.

Greek riot police officers walk amid clouds of tear gas near the Turkish-Greek border [Reuters]
Greek riot police officers walk amid clouds of tear gas near the Turkish-Greek border [Reuters]

Clashes have erupted on the Greek-Turkish border with Greek authorities using tear gas and a water cannon to hold back refugees and migrants trying to push through the frontier into Greece.

There were also reports of tear gas being fired from the Turkish side of the border into Greece.

Thousands of migrants and refugees have been trying to enter Greece through Turkey’s eastern land and sea borders over the past week after Turkey declared that its previously guarded borders with Europe were open.

Turkey currently hosts about 3.6 million Syrian refugees.

After months of threats, last week Turkey‘s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said his country would no longer be the gatekeeper for Europe.

Erdogan maintains the EU has not upheld its end of a more than six-billion-euro deal brokered to stem the flow of refugees and migrants into Europe, after more than a million people entered the European Union in 2015.

He has demanded the EU shoulder more of the burden of caring for refugees, although the EU insists it is abiding by the deal in which it disbursed billions of euros in return for Turkey keeping the refugees on its soil.

“Syrian refugees from Idlib along with other migrants, have been camped out on this riverbank in Edirne, Turkey for days,” Al Jazeera’s Natasha Ghoneim, reporting from Edirne on the Greek-Turkish border, said.

“They are stuck here trying to figure out how best to cross into Greece and continue on to Western Europe.” 

Ceasefire deal

Erdogan’s move to open the border came amid a Syrian government offensive in its northwestern Idlib province, where Turkish troops are fighting.

The Russia-backed offensive has killed dozens of Turkish troops and sent nearly a million Syrian civilians towards Turkey’s sealed border.

An Idlib ceasefire, brokered by Erdogan and Russian President Vladimir Putin on Thursday, went into effect at midnight.

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Opposition activists and a war monitor reported a complete absence of Russian and Syrian government warplanes in the skies of Idlib and relative calm in the area.

Source : News Agencies

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