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Greece saves 145 migrants on border with Turkiye

ATHENS (AFP) – Greek authorities on Thursday rescued 145 migrants stranded on an island in the Evros River marking the border with Turkiye, a common route for people fleeing war and poverty to reach Europe.

According to a unit of the Greek branch of the Red Cross present at the operation, the migrants, including 45 women and 30 children, “are in good condition”, the Greek news agency ANA said.

The migrants, whose identities were not revealed, were abandoned on the island by traffickers coming from Turkiye, according to a Greek police statement.

“It is not the first time that smugglers have pushed migrants towards Greek territory,” head of the Greek border guard federation Panayiotis Harelas told AFP.

Athens often accuses Ankara of allowing migrants to cross into Greece.

In June, Greek authorities rescued 91 people in the same area, including many Yazidis – a Kurdish-speaking minority living mainly in Iraq.

Thousands of migrants, mostly from Syria, Afghanistan and Pakistan, have entered Greece in recent years from the sea and land borders with Turkiye.

Following a strict migration policy, Greece has stepped up patrols in the Aegean Sea between Greece and Turkiye with the help of the European Border Surveillance Agency, Frontex.

On the Evros land border, the outgoing conservative government, forecast to win the June 25 election, has promised to extend a 15-foot high metal fence already built 38 kilometres along the river.

Despite the security clampdown, migrant tragedies continue in the eastern Mediterranean region.

On June 14, a dilapidated boat capsized and sank off Pylos in the Peloponnese, drowning 82 people, while “hundreds” were reported missing, according to some of the 104 survivors.

Survivors arrive by yacht after a rescue operation at the port in Kalamata town, Greece. PHOTO: AFP
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