Chaos As Thousands Of Refugees Charge Greek Border En Masse; 15,000 Surge Into EU Border Town

True to Erdogan's prior threat that Europe would see 18,000 to as many as 30,000 refugees pour across European Union borders on Saturday after Turkey 'opened the gates,' it's being reported that the number of migrants at Evros — a key land border between Turkey and Greece —  has now reached 15,000

Throughout Saturday the area became a war zone as thousands of refugees, urged on by Turkish authorities, attempted to cross into Greece en masse.

In places like the now completely closed Kastanies crossing (sealed by the Greek side as Turkish guards stood down and let migrants pass freely), thousands are stuck in 'no man's land' between the borders, with the situation fast descending into chaos.

According to the Greek daily Ekathimerini:

This is the first time such a large group of migrants and refugees has attempted a crossing en masse at Evros, a move that Greek authorities are treating as a consequence of the announcement from the Turkish government on Thursday night that it would no longer prevent migrants trying to reach the European Union.

Germany's Der Spiegal published footage showing migrants hurling tear gas grenades at Greek police, reportedly canisters provided by Turkish security themselves.  

Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis earlier vowed that "no illegal entries into Greece will be tolerated" - and has authorized a militarized response to seal border crossings with Turkey, which has included naval patrols in the Aegean to thwart migrant boats from passing.

At the Kastanies crossing Greek guards were seen firing tear gas on tightly packed groups of hundreds of migrants

Guards on Greece’s northeastern land border with Turkey made “deterrent use” of tear gas to disperse some 500 refugees and migrants trying to enter the country and the European Union after Ankara loosened controls on migrant flows.

Turkish border guards “have disappeared since this morning,” the mayor of the Greek border town of Orestiada, Vassilis Mavridis, said, adding that the group tried to enter through the Kastanies crossing.

Via AFP/Al Jazeera: Buffer zone on the Turkey-Greece border, at Pazarkule, in Edirne district, on February 29, 2020.

It's been confirmed that well over 30,000 mostly Syrian refugees and migrants on the their way to European border areas.

Unconfirmed reports say Athens may now even be sending tanks in support of commandos and helicopters already said to be there assisting in sealing the Evros border area. 

Angry over Thursday's Russian-Syrian airstrike on Turkish troop positions in Idlib, which killed 33 Turkish soldiers, President Erdogan warned Europe to brace itself:

"We will not close these doors in the coming period and this will continue."

Erdogan continued: "Why? The European Union needs to keep its promises. We don’t have to take care of this many refugees, to feed them," he said.

By all accounts of the increasingly chaotic and strained situation on the ground, things are about to break. It does appear we're seeing Erdogan's "open the floodgates" in action or at least the very early beginnings.

We could soon see disastrous 2015 levels at the worst time imaginable, considering the worldwide threat of the Coronavirus pandemic, health officials' response to which is based precisely on keeping borders closed and/or tightly monitored.