Large Number of North Africans Among Migrants on Greek Border

(Photo by BULENT KILIC/AFP via Getty Images)

While some of the migrants gathered on the Greek border are from Syria, a French broadcaster has revealed that many are actually from countries in North Africa which are not in a state of war at all.

Migrants from countries like Morocco, Tunisia, and Algeria are said to be numerous among the other nationalities gathered at the border after the Turkish government led by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan opened the gates to Europe.

French broadcaster BFMTV spoke to a group of Moroccan migrants at the border in Edirne who claimed they were not seeking asylum but rather were looking for money and better job prospects in Europe.

“We saw on Whatsapp and Facebook messages that say the doors are open between Turkey and Greece,” one of the Moroccans said and added: “So we came to try to go to France, or to Germany. We have nothing in Morocco, no work, no money, I don’t want to stay at home doing nothing.”

Another Moroccan, named Samir, said that he had been injured by Greek border guards but said that he would try and storm the border again saying: “Even if it costs my life.”

The reportage from the French publication comes as the Greek government claimed that just four per cent of the ‘refugees’ that had breached the border so far were Syrians, with Afghans being the largest group at 64 per cent. Even Turks fleeing Turkey were a larger group than Syrians at 5 per cent.

During the height of the migrant crisis in 2015 many of those coming into Europe, particularly to Germany, were revealed to be North Africans.

While most North Africans have their asylum claims rejected, as most come from countries that are already deemed to be safe, few who are rejected in Germany are actually deported.

A 2017 report from the German government claimed that of the 8,363 migrants from North Africa who were rejected for asylum claims, just 368 were actually deported in 2016.

North African asylum seekers have also been overrepresented in crime in many countries such as the Netherlands where one in five is recently suspected of participation in crime, according to a 2018 report.

Follow Chris Tomlinson on Twitter at @TomlinsonCJ or email at ctomlinson(at)


Please let us know if you're having issues with commenting.