Greece tightens borders after Turkish escalation in Syria


Athens has tightened sea and land borders with Turkey after developments overnight in the Syrian region of Idlib, Reuters reported on Friday, citing government sources. A senior Turkish official said his country would no longer stop Syrian refugees from reaching Europe, as Ankara responded on Friday to the killing of 33 Turkish soldiers in a reported airstrike by Syrian government forces in Idlib.

The Greek sources 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 PM Kyriakos Mitsotakis said authorities would tighten border controls to prevent the coronavirus from reaching islands in the Aegean.