The bodies of six migrants were found on the Greek-Turkish border in the Evros region in recent days. They appeared to have died from exposure, a Greek coroner said.
There was no ID documentation found on any of the migrants, which has made identifying them difficult for authorities. The local coroner, Pavlos Pavlidis, however, said that they were two women and four men believed to be aged under 30. The women appeared to be of African origin. All were believed to have entered Greece illegally from Turkey.
Five of the bodies were found over the weekend and the sixth was found a week ago, coroner Pavlidis told The Associated Press.
The northeastern Evros region is considered to by a major crossing point for refugees and migrants trying to get into the EU from Turkey. The bodies of the two women were found near the Evros River, while the men were found further out in the hilly terrain of the border region.
Increased trafficking on land route
While most of the migrants entering Greece from Turkey use the sea route across the Aegean Sea, a growing number now choose to journey by land across the Evros region, especially ever since naval patrols intensified in the Aegean in 2016.
The Greek government now announced in November that it would hire an additional 400 border guards in the Evros region and would also increase surveillance in the area using infrared radars.
With winter temperatures in the area dropping well below freezing overnight, there could be more deaths in the border region to come. The perilous journey across the Evros river has also caused many migrants to die by drowning in the last few years.
The UNHCR says that 55,000 refugees and migrants crossed from Turkey to Greece via the Aegean islands this year alone. The UN agency also estimates that more than a quarter of those asylum seekers have taken the land route into Greece this year.
with AFP, AP