Teargas fired on Greek-Turkish border as migrant tensions flare

Greek riot police officers walk amid clouds of tear gas near Turkey’s Pazarkule border crossing, in Kastanies, Greece March 7, 2020. REUTERS/Florion Goga

KASTANIES, Greece (Reuters) – Teargas and smoke bombs were fired across Turkey’s border with Greece on Saturday in a fresh flare up in tensions over the presence of migrants seeking access to European Union territory.

A Reuters correspondent in the area said the projectiles were coming from Turkish territory and being fired towards Greek police over a high border fence near the Kastanies crossing.

Greek soldiers and riot police have been manning the borderland, as thousands of migrants have made a rush for the frontier in the past days. Their Turkish counterparts have been stationed on the other side.

Turkey said on Feb. 28 that it would let migrants cross its borders into Europe, saying it could no longer contain the hundreds of thousands and the prospect of a fresh influx because of intensified fighting in northwest Syria.

Turkey on Friday accused the European Union of using migrants as political tools and allowing international law to be “trampled”, after EU foreign ministers said they would work to stop illegal migration into the bloc.

The EU on Friday pleaded with migrants on the Turkish border to stop trying to cross into Greece but dangled the prospect of more aid for Ankara as a standoff entered a second week.

Reporting by Lefteris Papadimas, Writing by Michele Kambas; Editing by Alison Williams

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