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Thousands of refugees fear coronavirus after being abandoned on Turkish-Greek border

SOME 10,000 refugees are at heightened risk of coronavirus at the Turkish-Greek border with nowhere to go, despite being asked to “stay at home” to prevent spread of the disease.

Muhammed Salih, who is among those to have been waiting at the Kapikule border for 20 days, warned that the situation is “really bad.”

“Everyone is afraid of catching the coronavirus here. We don’t want to be sick.

“They tell people to ‘stay at home.’ But where should those who don’t have a house stay?”

Thousands of migrants have been left stranded in the border region for more than three weeks.

Many of them were bussed there by Turkey after its President Recep Tayyip Erdogan opened land and sea borders with Greece, promising to “flood the gates of Europe” unless he was given support for his illegal war on northern Syria.

Many children are among those trapped, living in makeshift tents in cold weather.

Mr Salih said that soldiers prevented the refugees from accessing the villages, warning that food supplies were running short.

“The soldiers are constantly fighting with us and want us to leave. But we have nowhere to go. Our only hope is to leave here as soon as possible,” he said, explaining that he had sold all of his possessions in a bid to reach Europe.

He said that there were about ten thousand people at the border, surviving on bread, water and biscuits.

“Food and blanket supplies are very insufficient. They give a meal for three people to a family of six. We need food for our babies, but we cannot find it either.”

Appealing for help, he said: “It gets very cold in the evening. They should not forget us. We have a soul.”

Republican People’s Party MP for Istanbul Ali Seker warned that the situation for refugees was as serious as the coronavirus outbreak.

Europe, the US and Turkey were all responsible for the situation, he said, calling on them to take necessary measures.

Refugees have reported brutal treatment at the hands of Greek security services and the Frontex border agency. Many claim to have been badly beaten, saying that tear gas has been fired at crowds which included children.

A Syrian man was shot dead by Greek authorities at the border two weeks ago.

Lawyer Abdullah Resul Demir, president of the International Refugee Rights Association, confirmed that a criminal complaint was to be filed against the Greek police over the alleged brutality.

*A version of this article appeared on the Halagazeteciyiz website in Turkey

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