Greek authorities this week announced that nearly 2,800 third country nationals landed on various northern and central Aegean islands in September, a development that marks an uptick in the number of people being ferried onto the isles from neighboring Turkey by migrant smugglers.
According to reports, a majority of the individuals are from war-ravaged Syria and Iraq who initially fled to Turkey as refugees. Nevertheless, others are irregular migrants from various Third World countries who made their way to Turkey and then Greek territory, part of an attempt to reach preferred west and northern European destinations.
The migrant crisis in the Aegean exploded in 2015, four years after the Syrian civil war began, with nearly a million people entering Greece mostly unhindered from neighboring Turkey.
In its reaction, the Turkish coast guard maintained that it intercepted boat-loads of third country nationals attempting to reach Greek islands in 51 instances. The Turkish side put the number of would-be migrants returned to Turkey at 2,132.