February 28, 2020 / 8:59 AM / a month ago

Greece says tightens sea, land borders after Idlib

ATHENS (Reuters) - Greece has tightened sea and land borders with Turkey after developments overnight in the Syrian region of Idlib, government sources said on Friday.

A senior Turkish official said Turkey would no longer stop Syrian refugees from reaching Europe, as Ankara responded on Friday to the killing of 33 Turkish soldiers in an air strike by Syrian government forces in Idlib.

The Greek sources, who declined to be identified, 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 Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said authorities would tighten border controls to prevent the coronovirus reaching islands in the Aegean, where thousands of migrants are living in poor conditions waiting for their asylum applications to be procesed.

Reporting by Renee Maltezou and Michele Kambas; Editing by Alison Williams

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