Refugees in Europe are living in conditions comparable to Nazi concentration camps, a senior Greek politician has said.
The Greek interior minister, Panagiotis Kouroublis was visiting the Idomeni camp on Greece's border with Macedonia.
Despite being planned for just 2,500 people, the camp hosts around 12,000 refugees - many from Syria and Iraq - in wet, cold and muddy conditions.
"I do not hesitate to say that this is a modern-day Dachau, a result of the logic of closed borders," said Mr Kouroublis. "Whoever comes here takes several blows to the stomach."
Idomeni is regarded as one of the worst refugee camps on the European migrant trail, which has increased in size following Macedonia's decision to close its border.
Last week, in an example of the desperate situation faced by refugees in the camp, a photo emerged of a baby being washed by its parents in a puddle.
Mr Kouroublis is not the only Greek official to have spoken out against conditions in the camp.
Dimitris Avramopoulos, Commissioner for Migration, Home Affairs and Citizenship at the EU Commission, visited the camp on Tuesday.
“The situation here is tragic,” he said. “It doesn’t honour the civilised word, it doesn’t honour Europe.
He also criticised the closing of the border, saying: "All our values are in danger today, and you can see it here in Idomeni.
"I believe that by building fences, by deploying barbed wire, is not the solution.
"We have to work together. Our target is to be in a position to relocate 6000 people per week."
Living conditions – mainly tents in swathes of mud – are extremely poor in the camp.
Health workers have been warning of an imminent health crisis, as they deal with numerous diseases and a myriad mental health issues among the camp’s inhabitants.
Despoina Fillipidaki, a logistician for the Red Cross, said: "We have found women in tents writhing in pain as a result of [intrauterine] foetal deaths," the Guardian reported.
"My biggest fear is that soon people will start to die. And what was their crime?
"All they want is a better life, to escape war, to escape poverty. And what do they get? Greece of [Nazi] occupation. These are scenes from another century, another time."
The United Nations has raised concern about shortages of food, shelter, water and sanitation in the tent city, while Save the Children condemned the “fetid” conditions.
More than 46,000 refugees and asylum seekers are believed to be trapped in Greece after Austria and a series of Balkan countries stopped letting migrants pass through.
European Union leaders are currently holding a summit in Brussels aiming to strike a deal that could see those attempting to cross the Aegean Sea to Greece returned to Turkey.
In exchange, an equal number of Syrian refugees would be relocated safely directly from Turkish camps to Europe, while the country is also pushing for concessions to advance its accession to the EU.
Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the Turkish President, has dismissed growing criticism of a military crackdown on south-eastern parts of Turkey and restrictions of press and civil freedoms that have seen dozens of academics, journalists and lawyers arrested in recent days.
He claimed European leaders were "dancing in a minefield" and supporting terrorist groups, apparently referring to the banned Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).
Refugee crisis - in pictures
Refugee crisis - in pictures
A child looks through the fence at the Moria detention camp for migrants and refugees at the island of Lesbos on May 24, 2016.
Ahmad Zarour, 32, from Syria, reacts after his rescue by MOAS (Migrant Offshore Aid Station) while attempting to reach the Greek island of Agathonisi, Dodecanese, southeastern Agean Sea
Syrian migrants holding life vests gather onto a pebble beach in the Yesil liman district of Canakkale, northwestern Turkey, after being stopped by Turkish police in their attempt to reach the Greek island of Lesbos on 29 January 2016.
Refugees flash the 'V for victory' sign during a demonstration as they block the Greek-Macedonian border
Migrants have been braving sub zero temperatures as they cross the border from Macedonia into Serbia.
A sinking boat is seen behind a Turkish gendarme off the coast of Canakkale's Bademli district on January 30, 2016. At least 33 migrants drowned on January 30 when their boat sank in the Aegean Sea while trying to cross from Turkey to Greece.
A general view of a shelter for migrants inside a hangar of the former Tempelhof airport in Berlin, Germany
Refugees protest behind a fence against restrictions limiting passage at the Greek-Macedonian border, near Gevgelija. Since last week, Macedonia has restricted passage to northern Europe to only Syrians, Iraqis and Afghans who are considered war refugees. All other nationalities are deemed economic migrants and told to turn back. Macedonia has finished building a fence on its frontier with Greece becoming the latest country in Europe to build a border barrier aimed at checking the flow of refugees
A father and his child wait after being caught by Turkish gendarme on 27 January 2016 at Canakkale's Kucukkuyu district
Migrants make hand signals as they arrive into the southern Spanish port of Malaga on 27 January, 2016 after an inflatable boat carrying 55 Africans, seven of them women and six chidren, was rescued by the Spanish coast guard off the Spanish coast.
A refugee holds two children as dozens arrive on an overcrowded boat on the Greek island of Lesbos
A child, covered by emergency blankets, reacts as she arrives, with other refugees and migrants, on the Greek island of Lesbos, At least five migrants including three children, died after four boats sank between Turkey and Greece, as rescue workers searched the sea for dozens more, the Greek coastguard said
Migrants wait under outside the Moria registration camp on the Lesbos. Over 400,000 people have landed on Greek islands from neighbouring Turkey since the beginning of the year
The bodies of Christian refugees are buried separately from Muslim refugees at the Agios Panteleimonas cemetery in Mytilene, Lesbos
Macedonian police officers control a crowd of refugees as they prepare to enter a camp after crossing the Greek border into Macedonia near Gevgelija
A refugee tries to force the entry to a camp as Macedonian police officers control a crowd after crossing the Greek border into Macedonia near Gevgelija
Refugees are seen aboard a Turkish fishing boat as they arrive on the Greek island of Lesbos after crossing a part of the Aegean Sea from the Turkish coast to Lesbos
An elderly woman sings a lullaby to baby on a beach after arriving with other refugees on the Greek island of Lesbos after crossing the Aegean sea from Turkey
A man collapses as refugees make land from an overloaded rubber dinghy after crossing the Aegean see from Turkey, at the island of Lesbos
A girl reacts as refugees arrive by boat on the Greek island of Lesbos after crossing the Aegean sea from Turkey
Refugees make a show of hands as they queue after crossing the Greek border into Macedonia near Gevgelija
People help a wheelchair user board a train with others, heading towards Serbia, at the transit camp for refugees near the southern Macedonian town of Gevgelija
Refugees board a train, after crossing the Greek-Macedonian border, near Gevgelija. Macedonia is a key transit country in the Balkans migration route into the EU, with thousands of asylum seekers - many of them from Syria, Afghanistan, Iraq and Somalia - entering the country every day
An aerial picture shows the "New Jungle" refugee camp where some 3,500 people live while they attempt to enter Britain, near the port of Calais, northern France
A Syrian girl reacts as she helped by a volunteer upon her arrival from Turkey on the Greek island of Lesbos, after having crossed the Aegean Sea
Refugees arrive by boat on the Greek island of Lesbos after crossing the Aegean sea from Turkey
Beds ready for use for migrants and refugees are prepared at a processing center on January 27, 2016 in Passau, Germany. The flow of migrants arriving in Passau has dropped to between 500 and 1,000 per day, down significantly from last November, when in the same region up to 6,000 migrants were arriving daily.
"At a time when Turkey is hosting three million, those who are unable to find space for a handful of refugees, who in the middle of Europe keep these innocents in shameful conditions, must first to look at themselves," Mr Erdogan said in a speech broadcast on television.
On Wednesday he said that freedom and democracy have “absolutely no value” in Turkey in the wake of several bombings and other attacks, having previously called for MPs, activists and journalists to be classified as “terrorists”.
European leaders have been accused of failing to censure Turkey over alleged human rights abuses as efforts continue to secure the deal on refugees.
Human Rights Watch condemned the situation as a “new low” and said the proposed conditions put the “very principle of international protection for those fleeing war and persecution at stake”.
The plan has also been heavily criticised for singling out Syrian refugees, who make up roughly 40 per cent of arrivals in Europe, over Iraqis, Afghans and other groups needing protection.
An agreement could be reached at a summit in Brussels today, where the German Chancellor Angela Merkel, and Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu were continuing negotiations.
Additional reporting by APReuse content