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Syrian Refugees Continue to Flee to Greece


Thousands of refugees are living in tents and converted warehouses at Piraeus port, Athens in Greece, March 17, 2016.

Thousands of refugees are living in tents and converted warehouses at Piraeus port, Athens in Greece, March 17, 2016.


Hundreds of mostly Syrian migrants entered Greece Sunday after the European Union and Turkey reached an agreement to return them to Turkey.

Witnesses said almost 900 refugees -- including Syrians, Iraqis and Afghans -- entered four islands in the Aegean Sea. Officials confirmed that two men were found dead and two girls drowned off the Greek island of Rhodes.

On Friday, the EU and Turkey agreed that all migrants -- including Syrians -- entering Greece by sea from Turkey after Sunday will be returned. However, they will need to register and be permitted to ask for asylum.

But officials say the return process will not be in place until April 4. And they say it will not begin until EU countries send almost 4,000 workers -- including judges, interpreters and guards – to deal with the migrants’ requests for asylum.

In the agreement, the EU said it would give Turkey $6.6 billion in aid to help Turkey deal with the 2.5 million refugees now in the country.

Earlier rules will be used to decide what will happen to the migrants who entered Greece before Sunday morning. Those rules permit one Syrian to be settled in a European country for each migrant who is returned to Turkey.

I’m Anna Matteo.

Correspondent Jamie Dettmer reported this story from Athens. Christopher Jones-Cruise adapted the story into VOA Learning English. Hai Do was the editor.

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Words in This Story

asylum – n. protection given by a government to someone who has left another country in order to escape being harmed

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