'Stop this game': EU insists Turkey-Greece border not open amid migrant pressures

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Croatia EU Copyright Darko Vojinovic/Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.
By Euronews
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Migrants attempting to get into Europe need to know the border between Turkey and Greece is closed, the EU's foreign affairs chief has said.


Migrants attempting to get into Europe need to know the border between Turkey and Greece is closed, the EU's foreign affairs chief has said, as he called on countries involved in the dispute to "stop this game".

Thousands of refugees and other migrants have been attempting to enter the EU after Turkey declared that its previously guarded borders with Europe were open.

The EU in turn pledged a €700 million support package to Greece, to help the country deal with growing migratory pressures at its borders, as migrants, many of whom are from Syria, attempt to get into Europe.

An escalation in violence in Idlib, Syria, has sent a surge of refugees across the border to Turkey, which now holds four million Syrian civilians.

The EU's foreign affairs chief Josep Borrell spoke alongside his Croatian counterpart Gordan Grlić-Radman at a press briefing, following a Foreign Affairs Council meeting on Syria, held in Croatia.

You can watch the briefing in the video player above

Borrell insisted the first requirement is to stop the flow of people across the border, who he said believe the border to be open.

"It’s a question of communication, people have to know the truth," he said. "Let’s stop this game."

He also outlined the stark difficulties in providing humanitarian aid to the civilians in Syria caught in the cross-fire between President Assad's Russian-backed forces, and Turkish-backed opposition forces.

The Russian and Turkish presidents have now agreed a cease-fire in Syria, but the details of how civilians would be helped have not been made clear.

"You can imagine the logistical difficulties of bringing food, medicine, and shelters to one million people in the middle of the mountains, in the middle of the winter, in the middle of the war," Borrell said.

"What we expect is that the ceasefire be effective on the ground and from the air, to facilitate the work of humanitarians."

Earlier this week the Commission President Ursula von der Leyen told Greece's Prime Minister during a visit to the border that "this border is not only a Greek border but it is also a European border".

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