Dozens of Syrian Refugees Fight Death on Small Island on Turkish-Greek Border

Refugees are subjected to abuse by border guards in Turkey and Greece, according to Zaman al-Wasl.

On a small island in the middle of the Evros river separating the Greek and Turkish lands, dozens of Syrian refugees, including women, children and the elderly, have been living in harsh and inhumane conditions for more than a month.

Activists reported that the stranded refugees are trapped inside the island, unable to move because a detachment of Turkish border guards in front of the island shoots at refugees trying to approach, and there is a Greek detachment shooting at refugees trying to approach the Greek cliff.

At least 34 Syrian refugees, 13 of Kurdish origin and 3 Palestinians, including the elderly, pregnant women and 12 children, crossed into the Greek lands from the Maritsa region on July 14th, only to be surprised by the presence of the Greek security, dressed in police and commando uniforms, waiting for them. They beat everyone with thick batons.

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A source in the Follow-up and Rescue Team revealed to Zaman al-Wasl that many refugees have suffered from diseases of the digestive system and kidneys due to the polluted muddy waters of the Evros River and resort to filtering the river water by primitive methods, but the water remains polluted even after filtering, in addition to the presence of poisonous insects.

The source confirmed that a five-year-old Syrian girl died due to a scorpion sting, and there is another injured girl who is threatened with death at any moment.

 The source of Zaman al-Wasl pointed out that most of the besieged are sick and suffer from hunger and poisoning as a result of the polluted river water, and there is – according to the source – a woman in her seventies who suffers from many diseases, and there are many pregnant women and sick men.

If he doesn’t drown, we’ll kill him

Two refugees drowned in the river because they could not swim.

Greek border guards threatened some of the refugees who tried to help the refugee who could not swim by shooting in the air, telling them, “If he doesn’t drown, we will kill him.”

The source pointed out that the stranded on the island appealed to European organizations, the European Court of Human Rights, and the United Nations a month ago, but the Turkish and Greek governments did not cooperate and repudiated their responsibility for the island. The Turks did the same and the victims were the refugees.

Legal action against Greece

Human Rights 360 and the Hellenic Commission for Asylum Seekers have applied to the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) for the Greek state to take a temporary injunction to rescue 47 trapped asylum seekers.

 “These very serious condemnations must be investigated in depth immediately,” the main opposition Radical Left Alliance (SYRIZA) said in its statement.

Most recently, the European Court of Human Rights ordered Greece to pay €330,000 in compensation on the grounds that it had done nothing to rescue 11 people who drowned in 2014 off the coast of Polamac island, and had not conducted an effective investigation to highlight the incident.


This article was edited by The Syrian Observer. The Syrian Observer has not verified the content of this story. Responsibility for the information and views set out in this article lies entirely with the author.


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