Greek coast guard fire warning shots towards migrant boat

A video showing the Greek coast guard confronting a small dinghy carrying migrants trying to reach Greece was shared by the Turkish government on Monday.

The footage, according to Turkey, is of a boat travelling off the coast of Bodrum across a body of water from Greek islands.

Also on Monday, a child died after a dinghy capsized while making a sea crossing.

Tensions are high in the region after around 13,000 migrants amassed at the Turkey-Greece border, following an escalation in fighting in Syria.

An inflatable motorboat approaches the dinghy, while a man on another vessel pushes the migrant boat with a stick.

Additionally, a person on board the inflatable vessel can be seen shooting a gun into the air.

Greek authorities issued a video of their own, this one showing a vessel heading towards Lesbos, accompanied by Turkish patrols while in Turkish waters.

Once the boat containing 48 migrants reached Greek waters, it was deliberately overturned by the Turkish, resulting in a rescue operation being launched.

All on board were rescued, including two children who needed to be hospitalised.

  • Greek authorities issued a video which they said showed a boat of migrants being escorted by a Turkish patrol

Migrants began massing at the frontiers with Greece over the weekend after Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced an easing of restrictions on those wishing to cross to Europe.

His announcement marked a dramatic departure from a previous policy of containing the hundreds of thousands of refugees and migrants in Turkey.

Mr Erdogan apparently aims to pressure Europe into offering Turkey more support in dealing with the fallout from the Syrian war to its south.

Thousands of migrants on Monday tried to find a way across Turkey’s land border into Greece, which has made clear its borders will remain closed.

Dozens managed to pass through either border fences or fording the river there.

Turkey’s decision to ease border restrictions came amid a Russian-backed Syrian government offensive into Syria’s northwestern Idlib province.

That offensive has killed dozens of Turkish troops and led to a surge of nearly a million Syrian civilians fleeing toward Turkey’s sealed border, threatening a dramatic new influx of displaced into a country that already hosts 3.5 million Syrian refugees.

Fighting on the ground in Idlib continued on Monday, with heavy clashes between Syrian government forces and Turkish-backed fighters.

Syrian troops retook the strategic town of Saraqeb, which lies on the Damascus-Aleppo highway, although violence continued nearby.

The Kremlin said Mr Erdogan and Russian President Vladimir Putin would meet in Moscow on Thursday for talks on Idlib.