Thousands of migrants, including families with young children, were passing a cold night along the border between Turkey and Greece, staff of the International Organization for Migration (IOM), the organisation said in a post on March 1.
The IOM staff were tracking the movement of people from Istanbul and providing humanitarian assistance to the most vulnerable, the post said.
By Saturday evening,
staff working along the 212km-long border between Turkey and Greece
and in the capital had observed at least 13 000 people gathered at
the formal border crossing points at Pazarkule and Ipsala and
multiple informal border crossings, in groups of between several
dozen and more than 3000.
“The number of migrants moving through Edirne towards the border grew through the day as cars, taxis and buses arrived from Istanbul,” said IOM Turkey chief of mission Lado Gvilava.
“Most of those on the move are men but we are also seeing many family groups traveling with young children. We’re distributing meal boxes and other basic supplies in the city but the temperatures are dropping to nearly zero and the wind it quite bad so we’re concerned about these vulnerable people who are exposed to the elements.”
Throughout the day, IOM staff observed that at multiple stops along the three-and-a-half hour drive from Istanbul to Edirne, migrants travelling by car and small buses were seen purchasing food, water and other supplies. And, as the sun set in the capital, buses were still being loaded to over-capacity with people bound for the border area.
(Photo: A Syrian family prepares to huddle down by a fire out of the wind while children gather branches to burn Saturday night as they deliberate how to get home after a failed crossing attempt at the Edirne border with Greece. ©IOM/Emrah Özesen)