A balloon watching the waters between Greece and Turkey in search of immigrants News -

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The Greek coast guard and the European Frontex Frontier Protection Agency are planning to deploy an unmanned balloon to monitor the narrow strait separating the Greek island of Samos from the Turkish coast from Tuesday (30 July 2019).

The move aims to combat the illegal activities of human traffickers who transport dozens of migrants from Turkey to Greece, a member of the European Union. The Mekali Strait, which separates the two sides, is less than two kilometers wide.

Greece said on Monday that the balloon was equipped with thermal cameras and other surveillance equipment to allow direct information to be transferred to coast guard vessels patrolling the waters off the island of Samos.

Samos is a major access point for migrants on a dangerous journey to the sea with the islands of Lesbos, Leros and Kos on the Aegean Sea. There are currently about 19,000 migrants in crowded camps on these islands.

Under an agreement signed in 2016 between Turkey and the European Union, Ankara agreed to prevent migrants from passing through its territory to Europe in return for financial aid to refugees in Turkey. Turkey says it has officially received 3.5 million Syrian refugees.

AH / ZA (AFP)

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