MOSCOW (Sputnik) — According to the Hurriyet newspaper, NATO defense ministers agreed to make efforts against people smuggling in the Mediterranean Sea following a request from Turkey, Germany and Greece.
"Now, in line with the agreement, an activity by naval elements will be conducted under the command of Germany in the Aegean. Likewise, NATO planes will conduct a reconnaissance operation, monitoring and surveilling border areas near Syria," Bilgic was quoted as saying by the newspaper.
Last year, the European Union launched an operation to neutralize the routes of people smuggling in the Mediterranean after thousands of refugees died trying to make the perilous journey across the sea. The first stage of the operation involved surveillance and reconnaissance, while the second stage entailed boarding, search, seizure and diversion of ships suspected of being used for human trafficking.
According to the UN refugee agency, the number of arrivals on the European shores by sea in the first weeks of 2016 was bigger than in the first four months of 2015.