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LOCAL >Twelve migrants drown after boat sinks off of Turkey’s Aegean coast

ÇANAKKALE

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At least 12 migrants have drowned after a boat attempting to reach the Greek island of Lesbos sank in the Aegean Sea inside Turkish territorial waters on Oct. 17, Doğan News Agency reported, noting that 23 others were rescued.

The 12, of Syrian and Afghan origin, drowned as their boat en route to Greece sank off the coast of Turkey’s western province of Çanakkale’s Ayvacık district on Oct. 17. 

The victims included a baby of 6 or 7 months old, four children, five women – two of whom were pregnant – and two men.

Çanakkale Gov. Hamza Erkal said on Oct. 17 that the boat was carrying more than 48 migrants, who were reportedly from Syria and Afghanistan, state-run Anadolu Agency reported.

Coast Guard crews have been continuing searches for at least 11 other missing migrants, Erkal said.

Gendarmerie forces detained six people, including a Syrian citizen, who were reported to be the human smugglers involved in the death of the 12, Doğan News Agency reported. 

In a separate incident, a Pakistani refugee reportedly drowned on Oct. 17 after falling off a boat carrying 38 people, Turkish Coast Guard officials said.

The boat had departed from the coast of Bodrum located in the southwestern province of Muğla and was heading toward the nearby Greek island of Kos.

In addition, the Turkish Coast Guard said they had apprehended 49 Syrian refugees attempting to reach the Greek island of Lindos, via the Aegean Sea, from the Datça district of Muğla on Oct. 17. The Syrian migrants notified Turkish authorities about their plight by dialing a special emergency number after their boat encountered difficulties while trying to cross the Aegean Sea. Nineteen of the 49 migrants rescued were children. 

They were taken to the town of Datça’s immigration repatriation center before being transferred to police for inquiry.

In another incident, around 100 Afghan migrants were abandoned in the western province of Bursa, instead of the Aegean province of İzmir as they had agreed with human smugglers.

The 100, including 25 children and 30 women, had paid human smugglers 500 Turkish Liras each to be driven to İzmir, from where they would attempt to illegally cross to Greece via the Aegean Sea. The migrants, however, were dropped off in a field in Bursa, around 330 kilometers short of their destination.

Meanwhile, on the same day, gendarmerie forces in Istanbul detained 61 people of Afghan origin accused of conducting human smuggling.

October/17/2015

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