Turkey encouraged hundreds of refugees to head for the border to Europe - but they were duped

Mark Stone, Middle East correspondent 

From Turkey's border with Greece, I write with a profound sense of deja vu. 

Families from Syria, from Iran, from Iraq, from Afghanistan, from Tunisia, from Egypt, and from Morocco huddle around campfires hoping to cross into Greece.

They arrived through the day on Friday , prompted to make the journey from elsewhere in Turkey because the Turkish government had hinted, through media it controls, that the path will be clear for them to enter Europe.

But when they got there, they were met with tear gas from Greek authorities, securing their own borders.

They are now stuck in no man's land between the two countries.

Most of them have been in Turkey for months or years. They left conflicts and persecution behind. Many tried to build lives in Turkey after their initial push to Europe over the last few years was blocked.

But Turkey is overwhelmed (there are more than 3.5 million refugees here at the moment) and the migrants say they have no rights or ability to build a life there.

So when they heard the borders would be open, naturally they made the dash.

Some local Turkish mayors even offered to transport them to the border. We saw one bus arriving at the frontier with the Turkish police walking it in.

And so through the night, at the Pazarkule crossing from Turkey into Greece and the EU, they gather wood and light campfires.

There are dozens of families here with their young children in bundles.

"We are part of a game," one young Iranian woman tells me in perfect English. "They play with our body, with our mind, with our lives. It's like a game."

"We need a nationality. We need human rights... we are human," the 26-year-old adds. She explains that she had been persecuted in Iran "by the mullahs" and was unable to stay.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has choreographed the past 24 hours perfectly.

His military is under severe pressure in northern Syria. Turkey is understandably extremely concerned about the many hundreds of thousands more refugees that could cross the border from Syria if the bombardment of Idlib continues.

He wants NATO support to stem the Syrian government advance on Idlib. And the migrant tap, crude and cruel as it clearly is, is the tool to pressure the west to listen.