What’s left of what had been thousands of migrants on the Turkish side of the border with Greece at the Evros River were reportedly being taken away after Turkish officials had urged them to cross before Greece shut down its side.
Greek authorities believe Turkish authorities were removing them with the confrontations at the border, which saw tear gas being fired back and forth and Greek police and Army units having Molotov Cocktails thrown at them, abating in the face of the COVID-19 virus crisis.
Shortly after midnight on March 26 migrants who have been camping out on the Turkish side of the fence collected their tents and other objects and set them on fire inside the forest of Kastanies said Kathimerini.
Greek authorities also observed numerous migrants boarding into busss, possibly to return to Constantinope as Defense Minister Nikos Panagiotopoulos and the head of the Hellenic National Defence General Staff (GEETHA) Konstantinos Floros were headed to the area.
GEETHA sources not named told the paper that Greece forces nonetheless will remain on high alert there and will be especially vigilant in guarding the dense forest in the area with the river being more difficult to cross.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan had sent some 10,000 there and urged them to cross after the deaths of 33 Turkish soldiers in an area of northern Syria they invaded made him fear more Syrians caught up in that country’s civil war would come to Turkey, which his holding of some 3.3 million of them, along with 2.2 million from other countries.
Turkey had already been allowing human traffickers to keep sending refugees and migrants to Greece, mostly to islands near Turkey’s coast and Erdogan had warned he would open the gates and wants the European Union – which closed its borders to them – to revise a 2016 swap deal.