Migrants freeze to death en route to eastern Turkey

Migrants freeze to death en route to eastern Turkey

Migrants freeze to death en route to eastern Turkey

AA Photo

Six children and a woman from a group of 33 Afghan migrants trying to cross into the eastern Turkish province of Van from bordering Iran have frozen to death. 

The migrants were found by Turkish soldiers on patrol near the Iranian border at around 4 a.m. on May 13 after a heavy hail storm in the mountainous area.

According to reports, the seven migrants had already died prior to their discovery by soldiers, while eight others were in a serious condition. 

Five of the migrants were transferred to a hospital in the city of Van, while the other three were treated in a state hospital in Van’s Çaldıran district. Eighteen other migrants who were in better health were taken to the Çaldıran Battalion Command, where their needs were met.

Van is a major crossing point for Iranian refugees in Turkey, who number over 10,000 according to reports by the U.N. Refugee Agency (UNHCR).

The latest incident comes two days after 122 migrants were captured by Turkish security forces in two different incidents.

On May 11, Yalova Gendarmerie Forces captured 35 Afghans while on a daily patrol of the Yalova-Bursa road, after they stopped a suspected vehicle with a license plate number of 34, which is the official plate number for Istanbul, Doğan News Agency reported. 

Among the Afghans who planned to cross into Greece via the sea, three were women and two were children. 

The Afghans allegedly planned to board a vessel at Mudanya, in the coastal province of Bursa, to sail to Greece. Gendarmerie forces also found 20 life vests in their search of the vehicle.

The truck’s driver has been arrested, while the Afghans will be deported following legal procedures. 

Meanwhile, 87 Syrian migrants were recently captured in the Dikili district of the Aegean province of İzmir in a joint operation with the İzmir Gendarmerie Commandership’s Organized Crime and Trafficking Directorate and Dikili Gendarmerie Forces. Some 83 migrants were captured in a truck in the Bahçeli neighborhood of Dikili, while the other four migrants were caught in a taxi, state-run Anadolu Agency reported.

Some $8,000, which was thought to be begotten from human trafficking, was found in a separate truck that was determined to have dropped off two boats and a boat engine.

Five suspects were arrested over charges of organizing human trafficking activities.

Turkey has seen a rise since last week in migrants attempting to use the country as a transition point to cross into European countries. A total of 239 migrants were captured in Turkey’s western provinces over last weekend, including a number of migrants rescued from sunken inflatable boats in the Aegean Sea.