Syrian refugees stranded in a bus station in Edirne City on the Turkish-Greek border are in despair, stuck between two countries with nowhere to go.
Sheltering in a bus station in Edirne City on the Turkish-Greek border, Aliaa and her family are among thousands of refugees trying to cross the border into Greece. They were transported to Edirne on buses provided by Turkish authorities.
“The bus brought us to the crossing, and we got off here, but the police prevented us from entering. They wanted to take us by bus to the river, but we refused, we have been here for six days,” said Aliaa. Another child spoke of his fear of crossing by river. Their frustration and desperation is evident, yet they are at the mercy of two countries who do not appear to be backing down.
A week has passed since Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said that he would no longer stop migrants and refugees from trying to reach Europe. However, Greek authorities are using various means from preventing refugees from entering the country.
The refugees are now stuck between two countries, both of which are fighting to push the refugees away from their own borders. Turkey has deployed 1,000 police officers to its border to prevent Greece from forcing refugees back into Turkey. Both Turkish and Greek authorities have been accused of using tear gas to disperse refugees. The Greek government has stated that since Saturday its forces have prevented the illegal entry of 34,778 people and arrested 244.
Turkey’s actions go against the 2016 EU-Turkey agreement, which obliged Turkey to block illegal migration into Greece. The European Union Council released a statement expressing solidarity with Greece and accusing Turkey of using migratory pressure for political purposes.
However, President Erdogan reneged on the 2016 deal after Ankara accused the European Union of inaction on the issue of displaced Syrians. Turkey already hosts around 3.7 million Syrians, with nearly a million more on its southern border fleeing war-torn Idlib.