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Greece says tightens sea, land borders after Idlib

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo talks during a joint news conference with Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias, following their meeting in Athens, Saturday, Oct. 5, 2019. Pompeo is in Greece on the last leg of a four-nation European tour that has been overshadowed by the impeachment inquiry in Washington. (AP Photo/Thanassis Stavrakis)

Athens – Greece has tightened sea and land borders with Turkey after developments in the Syrian region of Idlib, government sources said on Friday.

A senior Turkish official said Turkey would no longer stop Syrian refugees from reaching Europe, as Ankara responded on Friday to the killing of 33 Turkish soldiers in an air strike by Syrian government forces in Idlib.

The Greek sources, who declined to be identified, said Athens was also in contact with the European Union and NATO on the matter.

Greece was the main gateway for hundreds of thousands of refugees streaming out of Turkey in a mass exodus in 2015 and 2016 until a deal brokered with the EU stemmed the flow.

The Turkish pro-government Demiroren news agency reported that some 300 migrants, including women and children, were walking northwest toward Turkey’s border with Greece.

On Thursday, Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said authorities would tighten border controls to prevent the coronovirus reaching islands in the Aegean.

The Aegean Sea is an elongated embayment of the Mediterranean Sea located between the Greek and Anatolian peninsulas, with an area of 215,000 square kilometres.

Thousands of migrants are living in poor conditions waiting for their asylum applications to be processed at the sea border.


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