Blimp to scan waters between Greece, Turkey for migrants

ATHENS (dpa)- The Greek coastguard and European border-management agency Frontex will deploy a crewless airship to monitor the narrow strait that separates the Greek island of Samos and the Turkish coast starting on Tuesday.
The goal is to combat the illegal activity of human smugglers who every day transport dozens of migrants from Turkey to EU-member Greece. The Mycale Strait that divides the two is less than 2 kilometres wide.
Greece said on Monday that the blimp is equipped with thermal cameras and other observation equipment, allowing real-time information to be delivered to coastguard vessels patrolling the waters off Samos.
Samos is a major point of arrival for migrants making the risky sea journey, along with the other Aegean islands Lesbos, Chios, Leros and Kos. Some 19,000 migrants in total were staying in overcrowded camps on those islands as of Monday.
Under a 2016 deal struck with the EU, Ankara agreed to prevent migrants passing through its territory to Europe, in exchange for financial aid for refugees in Turkey.
Turkey has officially taken in over 3.5 million refugees from Syria.

Monday, July 29th 2019

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