The situation at the Greek-Turkish land border worsened dramatically on Saturday (29 February) following Ankara’s official decision to let thousands of migrants enter EU territory.
According to Greek media, more than 4,000 people have repeatedly attempted to cross the Evros border in north-eastern Greece and have been stopped by Greek police forces who used sound grenades and teargas.
Reportedly migrants are taken to the Greek border by buses, free of charge.
A total of 66 people has been able to temporarily cross the border since Friday and have been arrested. Greek government spokesperson Stelios Petsas said that, contrary to Ankara’s arguments, none of them came from northern Syria’s province of Idlib.
On Thursday (27 February), the Moscow-backed Syrian regime forces killed 34 Turkish troops in Idlib. Ankara said the attack had caused a new wave of refugees who will now not be stopped by Turkey in trying to reach the EU.
“What did we do yesterday (Friday)? We opened the doors,” Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said in Istanbul on Saturday. “We will not close those doors …Why? Because the European Union should keep its promises,” he added without further explanation.
Greek police used tear gas to push back migrants. However, videos published by Greek media also show migrants throwing incandescent woods, stones and even Turkish-made tear gas against police forces.
Erdoğan said 30,000 migrants would be at the EU border on Friday.