At least 1,072 migrants were sailed to the edge of Greece’s water territory on inflatable life rafts and abandoned by Greek authorities, The New York Times reported.

Greece has been accused of sailing migrants out of its territory and leaving them to fend for themselves in motorless boats in the middle of the sea. It’s been reported that at least 1,072 people were expelled from the country in this way since the coronavirus pandemic began. The New York Times has uncovered 31 different incidents using evidence from multiple eye witnesses, the Turkish coast guard, and independent watchdogs.

Najma al-Khatib, a 50-year-old Syrian teacher told The Times that on July 26, she and 22 others including babies were taken by masked Greek officials from a detention centre on the island of Rhodes while it was dark outside. She told The Times they were left on a “rudderless, motorless life raft” and were later rescued by the Turkish Coast Guard.

“I left Syria for fear of bombing — but when this happened, I wished I’d died under a bomb,” she told The Times.

The Greek islands have frequently been the place migrants head to first because of their proximity to countries like Syria. But many get stuck waiting to move on to mainland Europe. The country’s population has become increasingly frustrated over the last five years and now its new right wing Government appear to have taken matters into their own hands.

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