ATHENS, Dec. 20 (Xinhua) -- Syrian refugee families totaling 19 persons were relocated on Tuesday to Turkey under an EU-Turkey agreement to stem the refugee-migrant influx into Europe, the Greek Public Order Ministry has announced.
Six men, three women and 10 children who recalled their asylum bids or did not submit requests were sent back to Turkey by plane from Lesvos island, according to the press release.
Under the deal signed in spring last year between the European Union(EU) and Turkey, all incomers who are not eligible for asylum should be returned to Turkey.
A total of 801 persons of various nationalities have been sent back to Turkey since March, according to the announcement.
In addition, 410 foreign nationals who had reached Greece from Turkey willingly returned to their countries in the same period under an International Organization of Migration program, the Greek ministry said.
According to the official data released from the Greek government, more than 20,000 refugees and migrants have landed on Greek shores since March.
The number is small compared to the more than a million people who reached Greece throughout 2015 before the closure of the Balkan route to central Europe in February 2016.
However, delays in the assessment of asylum bids and the implementation of the EU relocation program from Greece to other European countries, have trapped about 16,000 people in overcrowded facilities on the Aegean Sea islands for several months, causing increasing tensions.
Almost 63,000 refugees and migrants are currently stranded in Greece with most accommodated in more than 50 centers nationwide, according to the Greek authorities.