08:34 GMT18 February 2020
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    Refugees with kids fleeing from Syria have been caught on the Aegean Sea on their way to Europe by Greek coastguard crewmen who reportedly tried to pierce their rubber boat.

    The video, allegedly captured by the Turkish coastguard on November, 12, went viral and prompted outrage by Human Rights Watch who raised the alarm over the actions of the yet unidentified crewman against refugee boats trying to reach Greece.

    The footage of the dinghy carried up to 60 people who screamed for help in the dark was released by Turkish officials who issued a complaint towards the Greek government over the member of the coastguard who reportedly attempted to prevent refugees coming on the board, Reuters reports.

    The Greek coastguard left the scene just after the boat started to sink, so it was left to the Turkish boat to take drowning refugees on board and take them back to the Turkish city of Didim, the place known by refugees as the starting point of passage to the EU.

    Commander Rear Admiral Hakan Ustem of the Turkish coastguard said in a statement to his Greek colleague, "We would be very pleased if you order your team to refrain from such acts."

    According to Turkish daily Hurriyet, Greek commander Athanasios Athanasopulos was "shocked" after seeing the footage, and urged to take measures.

    An "armed masked man" whose identity remains unidentified is seen multiple times disabling vessels with refugees and towing them back to Turkey.

    "Disabling boats in the Aegean makes an already dangerous journey even more likely to result in death," said Eva Cossé, Greece specialist at Human Rights Watch, in October." These criminal actions require an urgent response from the Greek authorities."

    The latest reports show that Greek government denied allegations of its coastguard deliberately attempted to sink Syrian refugee vessel.

    Greece, along with other EU member states, is facing the worst refugee crisis since World War II, as over 800,000 migrants arrived in Europe in 2015, according to the International Organization for Migration (IOM). In October alone, approximately 160,000 migrants and refugees crossed into Greece from Turkey.


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    Syrian refugees, refugee crisis, boat, Aegean Sea, Turkey, Greece
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