Statement on the Situation of Refugees at the Turkish Greek Borders
Thousands are Suffering from Cold Weather and Oppression and Resist Death
March 2, 2020
In a security meeting chaired by the Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Ankara late on Thursday 27 Feb 2020, following the death of nearly 33 Turkish soldiers in airstrikes launched by the Syrian government forces on the city of Balyoun in Idlib, northwest of Syria, the Turkish government said it will “open its gates” for the “many refugees” living in Turkey to cross into the EU borders in order to pressure Europe into providing Ankara with greater support in Idlib to prevent Assad forces and his allies from gaining more control over it.
Consequently, large numbers of refugees gathered in Istanbul coming from other cities, after the travel permit between the Turkish states has been canceled. They headed to the Greek borders with free buses provided by the Turkish government for this purpose. Few of them could get to Greek islands by sea. During the past two days, the number of refugees, from various nationalities including Syrians, who could get to the Greek borders exceeded 13,000.
The European Border and Coast Guard Agency “Frontex” has to launch rapid border intervention to assist Greece in dealing with this huge number on its borders.
According to the information which the VDC collected from one of the migrants at the Turkish-Greek borders, refugees there suffer from very poor and catastrophic conditions, with almost complete absence of support from any humanitarian organization, except for minimum aid from a local organization, which cannot suffice the needs of the increasing number of refugees flowing to the area.
The Greek government spokesman, Pantelis Kapsis “Stelios Pitsas” said two days ago that “the government will do everything necessary to protect its borders”, which may have given a justification to the Greek border police to use violence to prevent refugees from approaching its borders, by using tear gas and firing live bullets directly at the refugees. The Violations Documentation Center in Syria VDC was able to document the death of a young man (18 years) from Aleppo, who was killed with a bullet fired from a close distance inside the Greek borders directly at his throat, in addition to two other injuries.
The Violations Documentation Center stresses the need to protect the Syrian refugees in Turkey and not to use them as a pressure card against any of the parties fighting in Syria, by pushing them to make unsafe attempts to cross into the European Union countries.
The Violations Documentation Center calls on the United Nations and the human rights and humanitarian organizations to provide support in all its forms to the refugees at the Turkish-Greek borders, in the light of the bad weather and humanitarian conditions they are enduring
It also calls on the UNHCR to shoulder its responsibilities and provide the necessary legal protection for these refugees, in accordance with the relevant international laws and agreements.
The Violations Documentation Center in Syria condemns the Greek border police’s use of excessive violence, live bullets and tear gas against the refugees
For more information or queries, kindly contact VDC at: [email protected]