Chios: Syrian refugee critical after ‘self-immolation’ | Greece News

A Syrian refugee is in critical condition after what appeared to be a self-immolation attempt on the Greek island of Chios, according to medical sources.

The incident happened around 2pm local time (11:00 GMT) on Thursday inside the Vial detention centre.

Videos posted on social media showed the 29-year-old man being engulfed by flames, just moments after a tussle with a police officer who had grabbed him from behind.

READ MORE: Spurned, hopeless and attacked, refugees’ drama goes on

The refugee, who reportedly arrived on Chios last week, sustained burns to 85 percent of his body. He was initially admitted to the island’s Skilitseion Hospital and was expected to be air lifted to the capital, Athens, for further treatment.

“His condition is particularly serious, and that is why all procedures have been followed to transfer him to Athens with the first available means,” Eleni Voutierou, the hospital’s acting manager, told Al Jazeera.

The police officer was also injured in the incident, suffering burns on seven percent of his hands and three percent of his face. He was also expected to be transported to an Athens hospital.

Delays and despair

The incident comes three days after the apparent suicide of another Syrian refugee in the Greek port of Piraeus.

The Greek coastguard on Thursday confirmed to Al Jazeera that the man who had been found hanged on Monday close to a passenger ferry terminal at Greece’s biggest port near Athens had been identified a 25-year-old Syrian.

An estimated 62,000 refugees and migrants are currently stranded in mainland Greece and its islands following a wave of European border closures and a controversial deal between the European Union and Turkey in March last year.

READ MORE: Number of Syrian refugees surges in 2017

Under the agreement, migrants and refugees arriving in Greece after March 20, 2016, were to be held in centres on five islands, including Chios, and deported to Turkey if their asylum applications are rejected.

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