BEIRUT

Middle East

Syria, Iraq spur migration crisis in Greece

Immigrants believed to be Syrians sit on a Greek Coast Guard vessel after being detained by Greek authorities in the southeastern island of Symi January 19, 2014. (AP Photo/Nikolas Nanev)

PIRAEUS, Greece: Greece has requested emergency additional funding from the European Union's border protection agency, saying that war in Syria and Iraq is triggering a crisis of asylum seekers and illegal migrants.

Coast Guard officials Thursday said they expect a three-fold increase in the number of immigrants apprehended this year, compared with 2013, with more than half of people entering Greece now coming from Syria.

Head of migrant operations Cdre. Ioannis Karagiorgopoulos said annual funding currently provided by the EU's Frontex agency is about half of the amount spent by the Greek state in just a month.

Greece is a major transit point for immigrants seeking illegal access to the European Union.

 

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