Greece sees sharp rise in migrants entering from Turkey in October

Greek authorities have reported a sharp increase in migrant crossings at the country's land border with Turkey along with a rise in arrests of smuggling suspects in October, Ekathimerini said on Friday.

In October, 3,543 migrants registered and arrested after violating the border, which shows an 82 percent increase compared to the previous year. 

“Our reception facilities are overwhelmed, and things are on the verge of spinning out of control. Far more are coming than are actually being registered," said a local mayor, Dimitris Mavrides. 

A total of 5,500 migrants crossed the border river to enter Greece in 2017, as compared to 12,000 in the first nine months of 2018, according to the Migration Minister Dimitris Vitsas.

The number of smuggling suspects arrested also nearly doubled, from 66 in October 2017 to 110 last month.

Greece has brought more than 2,000 migrants to camps in the north and centre of the country, while another 19,000 are waiting on the islands to be transported.

Athens is looking to reduce to reduce overcrowding at migrant camps on Lesbos and other Greek islands by moving more asylum seekers to the mainland, the news site said.

On the other hand, at least 246 irregular migrants were held across Turkey, state-run Anadolu Agency said on Friday. In the northwestern Edirne province, 113 irregular migrants, Bangladeshi, Pakistani, Iraqi, Iranian and Palestinian nationals, were trying to reach Europe by crossing the border between Greece and Turkey.

The EU-Turkey refugee deal, which came into effect on March 2016, aimed to cut the influx of Syrian refugees arriving in Greece. According to the deal, the EU promised the allocation of €3 bn in aid to Turkey, which is home to 3.5 million who have fled Syria, to help migrants.
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