Greece said on Sunday that it was going to rescue a group of dozens of migrants stranded for days on an islet in the Evros river bordering Turkey, failing to obtain that they be taken back by this country. “We are going to rescue them since there is no response from the Turkish authorities to our requests for them to be taken back” by this country, a source at the Ministry of Citizen Protection told AFP.
In a video sent to the media, a Kurdish-speaking man claimed that a group of 80 Yazidi migrants – a Kurdish-speaking minority living mainly in Iraq – had been stranded on an islet in the border river for six days and that several of these migrants needed care.
A 5 meter high metal fence is expected to cover 100 km of riverbank by 2026
Thousands of migrants, mainly from Syria, Afghanistan and Pakistan, have entered Greece in recent years from Turkey, hoping to reach Western Europe. With border guard patrols in the Aegean Sea increasingly dissuading them from attempting to reach the Greek islands, more migrants are now trying to cross the Evros River which forms the natural border between Turkey and Greece.
Acting Greek Prime Minister Ioannis Sarmas’ cabinet said on Sunday that it had asked the Turkish government to coordinate efforts to “prevent illegal crossings” of the border. “In recent days the low level of the Evros river favors the illegal passage of migrants, who use the islets which are both Turkish and Greek territory,” the cabinet said in a statement. “On one of these islets, around 80 migrants ended up in the Greek part,” added the same source. Another group of nearly 140 migrants was intercepted in Greek territory on Thursday after crossing the river.
The outgoing Conservative government, which intends to return to power in the elections on June 25, has decided to extend a 5-meter-high metal fence already built over 38 kilometers along the river, which should cover 100 km of riverbank. here in 2026.