Six more migrant children drown in Aegean off Turkey

Six more migrant children drown in Aegean off Turkey

Six more migrant children drown in Aegean off Turkey

AA photo

Six more migrant children drowned in two separate boat capsizing incidents in the Aegean Sea on Dec. 16. 

Two Iraqi children, aged six and two, were found dead off the Turkish resort town of Çeşme after trying to reach EU member Greece.

The bodies of the two children were found floating in the sea by local fishermen who then handed them over to the İzmir coastguard.

The children had been among 200 migrants trying to reach Greece by crossing the Aegean in the same journey. All others were rescued after their boat sank.

Separately, four children between the ages of two and six were found dead in the sea off resort town of Bodrum on Dec. 16, Doğan News Agency reported. Turkish coast guards rescued 58 people of Iraqi, Syrian and Afghan nationality, including 22 children, after a 14-meter boat capsized. 

Some of the children were in a severe condition, and one three-year-old Syrian child was immediately rushed to hospital. 

Saneya Kurbani, the mother of a three-year-old girl who drowned in the same incident, said she rescued one of her two children in the dark waters of the Aegean Sea when the boat started to take water. She said she learnt that her daughter had drowned after she reached the land.

Kurbani also said they paid $2,000 per person to the human traffickers to take them to Greece.
“We were told that we would go to Greece in a yacht but two Turkish men came with a small fishing boat in the middle of the night. They started the engine of the boat and then abandoned it,” she said, adding that there were 62 migrants in the boat. 

Some 650,000 migrants, often from Iraq and Syria, have tried to cross the Aegean Sea this year in search of better lives in the European Union. An estimated 500, including many children, have died in the often perilous crossing.

An image of one dead child -- three-year-old Syrian refugee Aylan Kurdi -- found washed up on a Turkish beach earlier this year sparked reactions of shock that jolted EU states into greater action.

The latest tragedy comes as German Chancellor Angela Merkel prepares to lead a meeting of eight European states and Turkey on the sidelines of an EU summit on Thursday to discuss plans to legally resettle refugees.