World Bulletin / News Desk
"The UNHCR is seriously concerned by the illegal return of Syrian nationals from Greece to Turkey," UNHCR spokesman Adrian Edwards told a news conference at the UN in Geneva.
"According to the information we have received, a group of 91 people arrived on the island of Milos on 14 October. Among the group were 10 Syrian nationals who were transferred to Kos and subsequently readmitted by plane to Adana, Turkey without due consideration of their asylum claims," Edwards said.
"The UNHCR has sought clarification with the Greek authorities about the incident," Edwards added.
But according to the Greek government, the number of Syrian nationals returned to Turkey was 14, but they had not requested asylum in Greece.
“Eight men, two women, and four accompanied minors were returned to Turkey. Ten of them never expressed the will to request asylum, while the remaining four dropped the asylum requests they had submitted,” said a statement by the Greek Ministry of Citizen Protection.
“It is noted that a family of three (husband, wife and child) – before boarding at the Kos airport – expressed their intention to submit an asylum request. Accordingly, the three Syrians did not board the return flight along with their 14 compatriots.”
The Syrians were sent back on an airplane chartered by Frontex and were picked up from airports on Lesbos and Kos, before heading for Adana, according to the ministry.