Several men run in a field while teargas is in the air.

Migrant crisis at Greek-Turkish border enters second week

Tens of thousands of migrants have been trying to get into Greece since late February when Turkey said it would no longer stop them from leaving. On Friday, Greek and Turkish security forces used tear gas to disperse the crowds near the Kastanies-Pazarkule border crossing.

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Migrants run away from tear gas as they clash with Greek riot police at Turkey's Pazarkule border crossing with Greece's Kastanies on March 6, 2020.

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Marko Djurica/Reuters

Tens of thousands of migrants have been trying to get into Greece since Feb. 28, when Turkey said it would no longer stop them from leaving. 

On Friday, Greek and Turkish security forces used tear gas to disperse the crowds near the Kastanies-Pazarkule border crossing as the standoff between Greek riot police and refugees entered a second week. Some migrants dabbed their stinging eyes with water. Others trekked through fields probing for chinks in the well-guarded frontier.

Related: Refugees caught in the middle of Greek-Turkish political standoff

Greece says it has repelled around 35,000 migrants trying to cross its border in the past week. Turkey has deployed 1,000 special police to the area to halt Greece's pushback of migrants onto its territory.

The World’s Lydia Emmanoulidou was in Kastanies, Greece, this week and reported seeing a stepped-up security presence along the border. The European Union announced earlier this week that Frontex, the European border and coast guard agency, would deploy personnel and equipment to Greece to help security forces there with the large number of migrants.   

Athens plans to extend its northern border fence by a further 25 miles, sources with knowledge of the matter said. It has also stepped up naval patrols in the Aegean to deter migrants trying to reach Greek islands such as Lesbos by dinghy.

Related: Opposition to expanding refugee camps in Greece takes new turn

Speaking to The World's Lydia Emmanoulidou, residents of Kastanies, Greece, said they were frustrated with having to live with the consequences of an international crisis right at their doorstep. They have seen their small businesses affected after the border shut down.

To listen to the full story, click the “Play” button on the audio player above.

Reuters contributed to this report.

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