First Published: 2012-09-17

 

Greece fears new Syrian migration wave

 

Public order minister says Greece must prepare against new Syrian migration wave amid pressure on maritime borders.

 

Middle East Online

ATHENS - Greece must "fortify" itself against illegal immigration, fearing a new wave from conflict-torn Syria, the public order minister said on Monday as officials reported pressure on maritime borders.

"Measures were discussed... to fortify the Aegean Sea," Public Order Minister Nikos Dendias told reporters after a meeting with Prime Minister Antonis Samaras that also included the ministers of defence and shipping.

"A migration wave is starting to show, it has not yet reached Greece in large numbers, currently it is heading to Turkey, Jordan and Iraq, but the country must be ready," Dendias said.

More than 250,000 Syrians have fled to neighbouring countries to escape the 18-month violence that has killed more than 27,000 people according to activists.

Turkey currently hosts some 80,000 refugees in several camps in the southeast bordering Syria. But it has warned it can handle no more than 100,000 refugees.

Greece, battling a five-year recession and insolvency and already home to hundreds of thousands of undocumented migrants and asylum seekers over the past decade, is also unable to cope with the strain.

Police reinforcements have been sent to Greece's northeastern border with Turkey, the main overland route used by migrant smugglers, but the flow appears to have switched to the Aegean Sea islands facing the Turkish mainland.

"I wake up every morning and say, 'Has anything happened to Syria today?'" the prime minister told the Washington Post over the weekend.

"If something happens in Syria, thousands of people would be flowing into Greece. Illegal immigrants are already a very big problem for us. We are already taking big steps to disallow illegal immigrants from coming in. Imagine if that number is multiplied by 10," Samaras said.

 

Arab leaders reject 'foreign interference' in their affairs

UN chief in Baghdad to review aid efforts

Lebanese PM Hariri visits Saudi Arabia

Turkey says military operation in northern Syria over

Palestinian pints divide Israeli pub

Rush hour on Mosul's 'displacement highway'

Palestinians commemorate ‘Land Day’

Qatar Airways to offer free laptops on US flights

American-Israeli teen arrested for US bomb threats 'has tumour'

Netanyahu vows to move ahead on new settlement plan

Tillerson says Assad’s fate up to Syrian people

Number of Syrian refugees tops five million says UN

Deal struck in Israeli row over public broadcaster

Palestinian NGOs urge Hamas to reopen border

Austria issues Turkey travel warning

US Secretary of State Tillerson in Ankara for talks

Jailed leader of pro-Kurd party to start hunger strike in Turkey

IS truck bomb kills at least 14 at Baghdad checkpoint

Iran says Arabs should focus on Zionist, not Iranian, meddling

Israel cuts $2-million contribution to UN

Israeli police shoot dead Palestinian woman armed with scissors

Bahrain sentences two to death for police bombing

Boat from Libya capsizes in Med, 146 migrants feared missing

Saudi police kill 2 gunmen during raid in Shiite-majority town

Over 60,000 S.Sudanese flee to Sudan in last three months

Bus bombing hits Syria's Homs, five dead

CAF chief Ahmad backs Morocco 2026 World Cup bid

US arrests Turkish banker for helping Iran violate sanctions

Turkey voices opposition to Kurdish flag in Kirkuk

Engineers to carry out urgent maintenance on IS-held Syria dam

Palestinian president meets Trump envoy at Arab summit

4 besieged Syria towns to be evacuated under deal

Arab leaders meet in Sweimeh on conflicts, 'terror'

No unanimity on Syria ahead of Arab Summit

UN says over 300 civilians killed since start of west Mosul offensive

Disputed Iraqi province votes to fly Kurdish flag

Germany laments Turkey's 'unacceptable' spying

Syria opposition says no peace deal without US role

Turkey sends delegation to UK over electronics ban

UN chief urges Arab leaders to confront Syria war

Carlos the Jackal sentenced to life for Paris bombing

Arab League set to oppose Trump Israel embassy shift

Tributes flood in for anti-apartheid hero Ahmed Kathrada

US vows to never allow 'Israel-bashing' at UN

Netanyahu ban on MP visits to flashpoint holy site challenged