Over 5,000 migrants arrive in Greek islands from Turkey in December

A total of 5,247 migrants arrived in Greek islands from Turkey in December, Greek newspaper Kathimerini reported on Wednesday.  

The final month of the year saw 3,681 migrants arriving in Lesbos, 878 in Samos and 688 in Chios, it said, citing the Greek police's Northern Aegean Regional Directorate.

Another 123 migrants arrived in Lesbos In the first 12 hours of 2020, the newspaper said, following the arrival of 134 on New Year's Eve.

Migrant crossings from Turkey to Greece have dramatically increased over the last couple of months as bilateral relations between the two countries have deteriorated due to a dispute over the hydrocarbon resources in the eastern Mediterranean.

Greece has accused Turkey of not complying with its 2016 refugee agreement with the EU and called on Germany and other EU states to take in migrants and asylum seekers directly from the island of Lesbos.

Turkey and EU in 2016 agreed on a deal that aimed to cut the influx of Syrian refugees arriving in Greece. According to the deal, the EU promised the allocation of €3 billion in aid to Turkey to help migrants. The deal also included the end of visa restrictions applied to Turkish citizens when travelling to Europe as of June 2016, but the visa restrictions still remain.