Border crackdown won't stop desperate migrants trying to make the journey into Europe

Migrants hunker down as they wait to make the risky sea crossing under cover of darkness Credit: Sean Swan / ITV News

The Afghans we met just a few hours earlier had to walk six miles to reach the small Turkish beach from which they would leave for the Greek island of Chios.

But these were determined people who wouldn’t be put off - neither by another long trek, nor by new rules that will probably see them rebound from Greece back to Turkey.

This was last night, less than twenty-four hours after the EU-Turkey deal to stop the flow of people across the Aegean had come into effect.

We were here to see what steps were being taken to implement the new system on day one.

We found the Afghans hiding in the undergrowth that covers the undeveloped parts of Turkey’s western coastline. They were a few miles outside the resort town of Cesme.

Refugees gaze across the water to the Greece Credit: Lutfi Abu Aun

They were on a bluff facing their goal, the Greek island of Chios. Even the children gazed longingly over the narrow channel keeping them from Europe.

As they prepared for another fitful sleep, word came through that after nightfall they would be on the move.

The smugglers made them walk a circuitous route to the departure beach to ensure they weren’t being followed by the authorities.

When the human traffickers were satisfied that the coast was clear – quite literally – the group of sixty Afghans walked down to the beach.

New rules are not likely to put off people who have already risked so much Credit: Lutfi Abu Aun

A smuggler flashed his torch and a colleague came in on one of those familiar dinghies.

The people clambered on board and were soon on their way to Chios. We know they made it across safely.

The EU wants the Turks to crack down on this people-smuggling operation. But from what we saw, the border police, the coastguard, even NATO warships, will struggle to prevent the flow across the Aegean.

An Afghan Refugee prepares to go by small boat with his family from Turkey to Greece Credit: Lutfi Abu Aun

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