50 Syrian refugees with children stranded along Greece's Evros river

50 Syrian refugees with children stranded along Greece's Evros river
The group of families with young children are caught up in a stand-off between Turkey and Greece, as Athens continues to push forward with border wall constructions along the riverbanks.
2 min read
05 June, 2022
Family members stranded on the river islet say they have had no food or water for days [Getty]

Over 50 Syrian refugees have been stranded on a Greek river islet for days without food or water, despite orders for their entry to the EU by the European Court of Human Rights.  

Activists have shared videos of sick children and families who say they are not able to go back to Turkey nor have been allowed to enter into Greece

"It's the 3rd of June and we are stuck for a third day, can’t go back or forward. Children suffer from diarrhoea and food poisoning" said the mother of one family, speaking to journalists over the phone. 

Communication with the group has been impossible since Friday morning after their phones were reportedly seized by Greek authorities

“Their last messages after midnight were that "commandos" are coming from the Greek side and they are hiding,” tweeted journalist Giorgos Christides. 

Greece's Civil Protection Minister Takis Theodorikakos said tens of thousands of illegal migrants had been stopped from coming into the country at the Evros border this year.

"In the first four months of 2022, about 40,000 illegal immigrants have tried to enter the country illegally," he told Skai TV, specifying they had been stopped at Evros.

In response to the increased crossings from Turkey into Greece via the river, the Greek government has announced intentions to increase border defence at the Evros river.  

A steel fence between Turkey and Greece is to be extended from around 40 kilometres to 120 kilometres, in an attempt to prevent irregular migration from Turkey, the Greek migration minister, Notis Mitarakis, has said.

The extension would seal off all possibility of crossing the border on foot, Mitarakis told greek news outlet Skai radio

This comes amid plans by Turkey to send back refugees to war-torn Syria.