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Hundreds of migrants arrive on Greek islands

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Athens: Hundreds of migrants are crossing the eastern Aegean to reach European Union member Greece from Turkey.


From Saturday morning to Sunday noon, 332 migrants have reached the islands of Rhodes, Kalymnos, Samos, Farmakonisi and Lesbos, the Greek coast guard said.


More than 20,000 people are already waiting in registration camps on the islands of Lesbos, Chios, Samos, Leros and Kos, which are designed for a total of around 6,300 people.


A further 4,000 people are housed in smaller camps and apartments.


According to the UN refugee agency UNHCR, 8,103 people arrived from Turkey arrived on the Greek Aegean Islands in August, up from 3,200 in the same month last year.


The refugee pact concluded in March 2016 between the EU and Turkey stipulates that the EU can send back all migrants who illegally arrive at the Greek islands via Turkey.


At the height of the refugee crisis in 2015, there were days when around 7,000 migrants reached the islands via that route.


Meanwhile, Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said on Sunday Turkey should not try to coerce either Greece or Europe in its attempts to get support for a plan to resettle Syrian refugees in northern Syria.


Turkey plans to resettle 1 million refugees there and may reopen the route for migrants into Europe if it does not receive adequate international support for the plan, President Tayyip Erdogan said on Thursday.


“Mr Erdogan must understand that he cannot threaten Greece and Europe in an attempt to secure more resources to handle the refugee (issue),” Mitsotakis told a news conference in the northern Greek city of Thessaloniki. — Reuters


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