Swiss Army Ready To Stop Refugees From Entering Country

| by Diana Kruzman
The Swiss flagThe Swiss flag

As European countries close their borders in response to a growing number of asylum-seekers, Switzerland announced that it's ready to use militarily intervention if refugees continue to attempt to enter the country.

In a statement released on April 20, the Swiss government outlined three plans to address different scenarios of refugee arrivals, ranging from 10,000 asylum-seekers per month to 30,000 in a few days, according to The Local. The latter scenario would require military intervention, in which case the Swiss Defense Ministry said it would be ready to mobilize up to 2,000 soldiers at border crossings to prevent further arrivals.

"Switzerland could be faced in the coming weeks or months by an influx of people seeking protection," the ministry said in the statement, according to the Agence France-Presse via The Local.

Switzerland’s announcement comes after a deal with Turkey closed the borders of European Union countries reeling from the influx of migrants seeking refuge from wars in the Middle East and North Africa, according to BBC. The deal stipulates that refugees arriving illegally in Greece will be sent back to Turkey, which will receive $3.3 billion in aid in return for its cooperation. The deal, which went into effect on March 20, also included an agreement to re-start negotiations about Turkey joining the EU, and allowed Turkish citizens to travel in the visa-free Schengen Zone by June.

Refugees arriving in Greece from countries like Syria, which has been embroiled in a civil war since 2011, typically seek refuge in northern European countries such as France, Germany, Sweden and the UK. In recent months, Switzerland has seen the number of asylum-seekers arriving in the country drop, but it still received 3,899 asylum requests in September 2015, according to The Local.

Along with military intervention, the Swiss government announced that it is prepared to increase the number of beds available to refugees already in the country from 4,600 to 9,000. The Swiss federal migration office said this response would address the “volatile” situation in Europe as the number of asylum-seekers has the potential to rise throughout the coming year.

Sources: The Local (2), BBC / Photo credit: Martin Abegglen/Flickr

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