NATO: Migrant Efforts Working

ANKARA, Turkey (AP) -- NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said Thursday efforts to stem the tide of migrants seeking the shores of Europe are working.

Speaking at a press conference with Turkish Foreign Affairs Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu in Ankara, the Turkish capital, Stoltenberg said the collective effort is "making a difference" and that the number of migrants crossing the Aegean Sea is "going significantly down."

Under an EU-Turkey deal signed last month, migrants arriving on Greek islands from the Turkish coast from March 20 onwards face deportation to Turkey unless they successfully apply for asylum in Greece.

The International Organization for Migration says Greece has seen fewer than 70 arrivals per day in the past 10 days, down from nearly 1,500 of arrivals per day before the deal was struck.

Stoltenberg said Turkey, based on information that NATO provides, is "taking action to help break the business model of traffickers."

But, he warned, the fight against trafficking requires "flexibility" as smugglers can "shift their routes rapidly."

The migrant crisis, Stoltenberg added, demonstrates how urgent it is to find a solution to the Syrian conflict.

Turkey, which borders Syria, is home to 2.7 million Syrian refugees.

(KA)