Greece clears more makeshift migrant camps

(MENAFN- Muscat Daily) Thessaloniki, Greece-

Greek police on Tuesday cleared two more improvised migrant camps near its border with Macedonia, moving occupants to state-run facilities, officials said.

Police in Greece''s second largest city Thessaloniki said the operation was ongoing in the makeshift camps, which had formed around a highway motel and a nearby petrol station.

Many of the migrants are from Morocco, Algeria and Pakistan, local police said.

According to government statistics there are around 1,900 migrants in the two camps near the border with Macedonia.

On Monday, over a thousand people were relocated from another makeshift camp set up around another filling station about 20 kilometres (12 miles) from the frontier.

The three improvised camps had swelled after officials last month moved some 4,000 people away from the sprawling tent city of Idomeni, on the Macedonian border.

The camp closures are part of a strategy by Greece to prevent a buildup of migrants in squalid conditions after European Union countries began to shutter their borders to the human influx in February.

Around 49,000 migrants -- a term that also includes people seeking asylum -- are blocked in mainland Greece.

Another 8,500 others are being held on Greece''s Aegean Sea islands, under the March 20 deal between EU and Turkey which allows people who have not filed for asylum in Greece to be sent back to Turkey.

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is to visit Greece on Friday for talks on the migration crisis with the government.

The UN chief will then travel to the flashpoint island of Lesbos on Saturday to meet with refugees.

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