Tensions rise as Greece prepares to send back first asylum seekers to Turkey | News | DW | 03.04.2016
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Tensions rise as Greece prepares to send back first asylum seekers to Turkey

Greek authorities are preparing to move ahead with an EU-Turkey deal that will see hundreds of refugees deported. Meanwhile, chaos has erupted in some of the camps where asylum applicants are being held.

On Monday Greece will begin sending back refused asylum-seekers under a new agreement concluded by EU and Turkish leaders in March.

About 750 people are to be sent back to Turkey from Monday to Wednesday, where they will arrive at reception centers being established by the government. According to Greece's state news agency, ANA, EU border agency Frontex has chartered two Turkish ships for the operation, and there will be one Frontex agent on board for every migrant.

The latest plan allows for the resettlement of one Syrian refugee in Europe for every rejected asylum-seeker sent back to Turkey.

Anger levels rise

The deal has drawn sharp criticism from all sides, with some EU members, including Austria, casting doubt on its effectiveness, and international organizations such as the UN arguing that it's illegal.

Meanwhile, as Athens plans to implement the deal, tensions have spiked among migrants currently living in Greek facilities, such as those on the island of Chios, where some 113,000 refugees arrived in 2015 alone, according to the UN's refugee agency.

On Friday, clashes broke out between migrants in Chios, leaving three men hospitalized. On the island of Lesbos, which also houses large numbers of migrants, French riot police were deployed on Saturday in an effort to quash any violence, according to the AFP news agency. And in Idomeni, on the border between Greece and Macedonia, there were also fights between migrants, the DPA news agency reported.

blc/jlw (dpa, AFP)

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