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Greece: Second migrant camp up in flames after violence erupts
By Arthur Lyons. Voice of Europe, 17 October 2019
Hundreds have been left without shelter after fires broke out at an overcrowded migrant camp on the Greek island of Samos. The incident marks the second of its kind in less than a month.
The fires were started after violent clashes broke out between groups of Syrian and Afghan migrants. Greek police say that no injuries resulted from the blaze at Vathy camp, the Athens morning newspaper Ekathimerini reports.
Greek police also mentioned that the clashes between Syrians and Afghans on Monday followed another fight earlier in the day which saw three Syrians hospitalized for stab wounds.The fire is also said to have destroyed several tents and housing containers.
Greece is currently struggling to cope with an influx of migrants that hasn’t been seen since Europe’s migrant crisis in 2016.
In August, Greece saw close to 7,000 migrants arrive by boat – the highest number since 2016. This year alone, over 22,000 migrants are reported to have come to Greece.
Close to 90,000 migrants are living in more than 50 camps scattered across Greece’s mainland, five Aegean islands, and northern frontiers.
Earlier this month, two people were killed after migrants in a camp on the Greek island of Lesbos set fires to housing units and clashed with police and firefighters.In August, Turkish Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu said, “We are facing the biggest wave of migration in history. If we open the floodgates, no European government will be able to survive for more than six months. We advise them not to try our patience.”
A month later, the same sentiment was echoed by Turkey’s President Recep Erdogan when he threatened to “open the gates” to allow migrants into Europe unless the EU provided financial backing for a “safe zone” inside war-torn Syria very soon.
Just days ago, in response to Europe’s criticism of Turkey’s military incursion into northeastern Syria, Erdogan threatened to ‘open the gates’ once more.
Following Erdogan’s threats, Alternative for Germany (AfD) MP Petr Bystron called on Berlin and Brussels to stop all payments to the Turkish government.
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