The average number of boats with refugees and immigrants trying to reach the shores of Samos, Chios and Mytilene ranges from 5 to 8.
The influx of illegal immigrants arriving at the borders of Evros and in the eastern Aegean Sea is described as increasing. Currently, competent officials do not associate, at least directly, the increase in the flow of migrants with the current events in Afghanistan. Police and Coast Guard, with the assistance of the National Intelligence Service, are monitoring the phenomenon, and the leaders of the two agencies have prepared contingency plans in case they are called upon to manage situations similar to those that arose in March 2020.
The border departments of Eastern Macedonia and Thrace have formed teams and assigned tasks among the officers, so that, if required, each police officer will clearly know what to do in each case.
According to police sources, about 300 foreigners try to cross the Greek-Turkish land border at Evros every day. Most of them are observed in the region of Orestiada, although recently foreigners illegally cross first the Turkish-Bulgarian border, and then penetrate into Greece through the Rhodope mountainous area. According to some reports, recently it was even necessary to patrol the area by special forces of the ground army, whose mission was to stop the so-called “secondary flows” of migrants and refugees from Bulgaria to Greece.
At the same time, it is noted that the number of arrests of carriers of illegal immigrants, the so-called “human traffickers”, is increasing in the prefectures of Evros, Rhodope and Xanthi. From 1 to 3 September, border guards and police in the Fera, Iasmos, Sapon and Kato Nevrokopi districts arrested six human traffickers, Greeks and foreigners, who were transporting migrants hiding in cars.
Up to 8 boats per day
In the eastern Aegean Sea, respectively, the average number of boats with refugees and immigrants trying to reach the shores of Samos, Chios and Mytilene is from 5 to 8. Coast Guard officials have not yet linked the migration flow with the Taliban seizure of power in Kabul, despite the fact that 50% of foreigners at the sea border are Afghan citizens.
Police and Coast Guard are convinced that the increased flow of illegal immigrants across land and sea borders is largely due to weather conditions in the summer months, which lead to lower levels of the Evros River and improved sea conditions compared to the colder months of winter.
Situation on the border between Turkey and Iran
Government officials report that the number of Afghan migrants and refugees on the Turkish-Iranian border is not so high, despite reports in the international press.
One of these reports says that the number of immigrants in the east of the country, the city of Van, is growing rapidly. In contrast, Afghan migrants have been spotted heading towards the border with Pakistan, as confirmed by recent aerial photographs in the press.
Greek officials note that the Turkish government has said it will not accept Afghan migrants, with the exception of the 400,000-500,000 who are already in the country. Just last Thursday, Turkish Foreign Minister Melvut Tsavusoglu stressed that his country will not accept a possible EU proposal, which provides for increased funding in exchange for managing the migrant crisis in Turkey.