Refugees and migrants wait to embark in police and military vans on a highway near the northeastern Greek village of Thourio, at the Greek-Turkish border. (AP Photo/Thanassis Stavrakis, file)
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The U.N. refugee agency made an urgent appeal to Greece Friday to create more reception facilities at a border area with Turkey that has seen a surge in crossings in recent months by asylum-seekers from Syria and Iraq. UNHCR said existing facilities in the Evros border region are overwhelmed after the number of arrivals swelled to 2,900 so far this month, half the estimated arrivals in the region for all of 2017 . Many migrant traffickers have switched routes to the Evros region instead of islands in the eastern Aegean Sea, where most migrants are prevented from traveling to the mainland due to a deal reached in March 2016 between the European Union and Turkey to stem the flow of migrants heading into the European Union.A 2016 EU agreement with Turkey all but closed the sea route to the Greek islands that almost a million people took in 2015 .
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