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'They showed us no mercy': Greek border forces accused of stripping, beating refugees

Videos appear to show Syrian and Afghan refugees being forcibly returned to Turkey in their underwear
More than 10,000 migrants mostly from Syria and Afghanistan, have gathered at the Greek border hoping to get to western Europe (TRT World/Screengrab)

Refugees attempting to enter Greece from Turkey have told reporters they were caught by Greek security forces and stripped of their clothes, documents and money, and sent back in their underwear.

Harrowing videos publish by Turkish state broadcaster TRT showed groups of Syrian and Afghan refugees huddling around a fire in their underwear as they struggled to keep warm.

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"We entered Greece and were captured by Greek soldiers and commandos," a Syrian refugee said.

"They stripped us naked and took our bags and money. They used plastic rods to beat Afghan women. Europeans always claimed they respect human rights. Where are the human rights here?"

A second Syrian refugee accused Greek border guards of violence against both men, and women, saying "they showed us no mercy".

"They beat women and men and stripped them naked to search them. And they claim that Greece is a country that respects human rights."

One photo showed a male refugee lowering his jacket to expose injuries on his back.

More than 10,000 migrants mostly from Syria and Afghanistan have gathered at the Greek border hoping to get to western Europe.

Syrian refugee showing torture marks
A refugee shows marks on his backs which were reportedly sustained in beatings by Greek border officials (TRT World/Screengrab)

Makeshift camps for thousands of migrants have sprung up around the border since Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said last week that his country would no longer stop refugees from trying to leave the country.

Turkey's decision to open the border came after 34 Turkish soldiers were killed by Syrian government forces in Idlib, northwestern Syria last week.

The Turkish soldiers were stationed there to protect local civilians under a 2018 deal with Russia which prohibits acts of aggression in the region.

Turkey already hosts nearly four million Syrian migrants, more than any country in the world. Officials say the country cannot handle another refugee wave.

Ankara has repeatedly complained that Europe has failed to keep its promises under the 2016 EU-Turkey refugee deal to help migrants and stem further migrant waves.

This article is available in French on Middle East Eye French edition.