Some 500 irregular migrants evacuated from small Symi isle

Tuesday, 08 October 2019 12:43
George Vitsaras / SOOC/George Vitsaras
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Roughly 500 third country asylum seekers were transported overnight from the small eastern Aegean isle of Symi to the Greek mainland, a day after several hundred people were evacuated from a crowded "hotspot" on the island of Lesvos (Mytilene).

Most of those evacuated were identified as Afghan nationals, many being families or people in "at risk" groups, such as juveniles.

Symi had been targeted by migrant-smuggling networks operating from the opposite Turkish coast, with many of the irregular migrants identified as young men from North Africa and sub-Saharan Africa.

Practically all of the third country nationals that illegally enter from neighboring Turkey then submit an application for asylum in EU member-state Greece, with the application taking months and years previous to run through the appeals process, in cases where the first application was rejected.

The new Mitsotakis government, amid what appears to be a resurgence of the 2015 migrant/refugee crisis, promised better patrolling of land and sea borders, an accelerated asylum process, more repatriations of verified illegal migrants and efforts to better coordinate actions with EU partners and Erdogan-dominated Turkey, from where the migration flows emanate, at least in the eastern Mediterranean.

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