Greek armed forces step up patrols, surveillance on land, sea borders with Turkey

Friday, 28 February 2020 13:11
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Greece armed forces chief arrived in the northeast border prefecture of Evros on Friday, with media reports pointing to stepped up patrols and surveillance of Greece's land border with Turkey in order to deflect a possible surge of third country nationals attempting to illegally enter the country.

The unscheduled arrival of Gen. Konstantinos Floros to the area comes hours after Turkish officials threatened to allow anyone identified as a third country refugee or would-be asylum seeker free passage to borders with Europe - which in this case means Greece's eastern Aegean islands and Evros prefecture. A same-name river, Evros or Maritsa, separates the two countries in the Thrace province.

Turkey also has an extensive border with Bulgaria in Thrace, although people smuggling rings and would-be migrants have mostly avoided entering that country over recent years, preferring Greece's porous sea borders.

Reports from Turkey claimed that hundreds of third country nationals were attempting to reach the border with Greece in a bid to illegally enter the country and then try and reach preferred destinations in central and western Europe.

The latest development comes after more than 30 Turkish military personnel were killed in the insurgent-held northwest Syrian province of Idlib in an airstrike by warplanes of the Syrian government and its Russian allies.

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