Following last week’s airstrike that hit Turkish Forces in Syria, tensions in the Middle Eats have risen dramatically. As people flee for their safety from this eruption of chaotic violence, bordering countries have encountered a high influx of migrants. Greece specifically has been the main “promised land” that migrants leaving Turkey have aimed for. Greece’s new Prime Minister, Kyriakos Mitsotakis, has promised to work towards tougher immigration policies, however. He was faced with his first real encounter of the migrant issues in Greece when an allegedly organized group of migrants that flooded Greece’s border city, Kastanies. Reuters reported that these migrants have been witnessed throwing pieces of wood at the Greek police who responded by throwing teargas into the crowd. This is only one example of the hostility people on both sides are met with.
Greece was also a major target in the EU’s 2015 refugee crisis. During this crisis, millions of refugees reached Greece via its islands. Since then, the EU has closed off these routes and made it virtually impossible for these asylum seekers to find assistance. This has caused the land routes to become increasingly popular, with an estimated 3,000 people having reached the border at Kastanies. Another popular route is the river that borders Greece and Turkey. Reuters reports, “a group of Afghans with young children waded across fast-moving waters of the Evros river and took refuge in a small chapel. They crossed into Greece on Friday morning”. However, even when these adults and families do make it into Greece, they are not yet safe. Reuters tells us of another man from Syria who stated, “we’ve been here for two days, we have no food, look at these kids”. There are no systems in place on the front lines to serve the people forced to flee their homes, and the hostility in nations forced to accept these refugees has only grown. The fear of the spread of the Novel Corona Virus has also raised concerns regarding the asylum seekers and the tightening of border control.
The people who have been forced to flee their homes are in desperate need of support at every point in their journey. However, the burden of caring for these asylum seekers cannot fall on just a few nations. For this reason, it is crucial that the EU finds an effective way to distribute the responsibility of supporting migrants to its member states. Supporting and advocating for these displaced people needs to be at the forefront of their policymaking.