This image shows refugees in Syria waiting in line to register with the police authorities at Mytilene port on the island of Lebos, Greece, August 17, 2015. (AFP photo)
The number of refugees arriving in the European Union
could be on the rise despite an agreement between Brussels and Ankara to stop the flow of asylum-seekers reaching the continent, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) said on Friday.
About 150 refugees are arriving in Greece from Turkey each day, a spokesman for the IOM said.
“Arrivals in Greece, which were down to literally zero some days this month, are beginning to creep back up. The last three days, we’ve had over 150 people arriving each day, which compared to a month ago is minuscule, but compared to many days this past … it does show that route may be picking back up,” IOM spokesman Joel Millman told a Geneva news
Millman said there was a huge demand to smugglers from refugees of various countries in Turkey who want to reach the EU
He also added that human traffickers could either be getting more creative in their methods of transport, or that the rise could be due to the weather getting better after winter months.
More than 1.1 million refugees arrived in the EU area last year, many died en route.
In March, the EU and Turkey struck a controversial deal to stop the flow of refugees crossing into the EU, and it was enacted earlier in April, despite criticism from human rights groups.
This image shows young refugees being held at the Moria detention center in Mytilene, on the Greek island of Lesbos, on April 16, 2016. (AFP Photo)
Daily arrivals into Greece fell sharply after the Ankara-Brussels deal went into effect.
Under the deal, Ankara gets billions of euros to stop refugees from departing its shores for Europe
, and Ankara will take back and keep all those refugees who had eventually reached the 28-nation bloc via illegal routes. In exchange, Brussels agreed to speed up EU membership talks with Turkey.