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Migrants among 6 killed in car crash near Greece-Turkey border

Turkey refugees

Refugees walk towards the Greek border in Pazarkule, in the Edirne district, on March 1, 2020. - Thousands of migrants stuck on the Turkey-Greece border clashed with Greek police on February 29, 2020, according to an AFP photographer at the scene. Greek police fired tear gas at migrants who have amassed at a border crossing in the western Turkish province of Edirne, some of whom responded by hurling stones at the officers. The clashes come as Greece bolsters its border after Ankara said it would no longer prevent refugees from crossing into Europe following the death of 33 Turkish troops in northern Syria. (Photo by BULENT KILIC / AFP)

Five migrants and a Greek motorist were killed in a collision on a highway near the border between Greece and Turkey on Saturday, police told Agence France-Presse.

The car, carrying 10 migrants, was traveling at high speed on the wrong side of the road to avoid a police checkpoint and slammed into a four-wheel drive, the 46-year-old driver of which was also killed, the police said.

The five other migrants — whose nationalities were not immediately clear — and the driver of their vehicle were taken to a hospital after sustaining injuries, the police added.

Thousands of migrants have in recent years crossed into Greece from Turkey in the hope of making it to Western Europe.

With the stepping up of patrols in the Aegean Sea making it harder for migrants to reach Greek islands, more are taking their chances by crossing the Evros River, a natural land border, and having traffickers take them from there by road.

There have recently been an increasing number of accidents similar to that on Saturday.

NGOs have meanwhile been accusing Greece of illegal pushbacks — which Athens denies — of asylum seekers who make it across the river.

In an effort to reduce the flow of migrants, conservative Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis two weeks ago called on the European Union to “seriously consider” providing financial aid to help extend an anti-migrant steel fence along the border with Turkey.

Athens has decided to extend a five-meter-high steel fence that runs along the river by 35 kilometers (22 miles).

The fence is currently 38 kilometers long, and Athens aims to carry out the extension within a year, adding a total of 100 kilometers by 2026.

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