Greece will speed up the relocation of thousands of migrants from its overcrowded islands to the mainland before the onset of winter after reaching a deal with Turkey, a key ally in helping to tackle Europe’s migration crisis, government sources said Dec. 11.
Athens persuaded Ankara last week to accept migrant returns from the mainland and not just from the Aegean islands as previously agreed under a 2016 EU-Turkey pact, one source told AFP.
The new agreement — reached during a two-day visit by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan — aims to reduce the more than 15,000 people packed into refugee camps on the islands of Lesbos, Chios, Samos, Kos and Leros, another source said.
The camps are filled to triple their capacity, forcing many migrants to sleep in tents and creating tensions with locals.
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