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Greece halts dozens of migrants en route to Italy



(dpa/NAN) The Greek coastguard on Monday stopped a boat with 36 migrants on the way to Italy and arrested two suspected smugglers, both Ukrainian nationals.
The vessel was stopped off the Ionian island of Zakynthos, the coastguard said, adding that the authorities are determining where the migrants came from.
According to official data, 486 people arrived from Turkey over the weekend on the Aegean islands of Lesbos, Chios, Samos, Leros and Kos.
However, migrants have begun attempting to reach Italy by employing smugglers, either on the islands or directly in Turkey.
This is because the islands near Turkey are overcrowded and migrants are facing months of waiting.
The UN refugee agency UNHCR says that 34,000 people arrived in Greece from January to September 2, with 26,000 of them coming by sea.
UNHCR said the number of arrivals has already overshot the entire 2018, and it is the highest figure over the past three years, since countries on the Balkan route closed their borders to migrants.
It added that more than 1 million migrants had passed through in 2015 to March 2016 when the European Union and Turkey agreed to stem the inflow of people and closed gates.
UNHCR said it was not clear why the rate of arrivals has accelerated in recent months. (dpa/NAN)
Edited by Hadiza Mohammed/Muhammad Suleiman Tola