At least 12 people died on Saturday when a boat carrying refugees to Greek island of Lesbos sank in the Aegean Sea, off the coast of Turkey’s western Canakkale province.
Canakkale Governor, Hamza Erkal said that the Turkish Coast Guard was able to rescue 25 people from the capsized boat and take them to Turkey.
Officials reported that the rescued refugees were Syrian and Afghan nationals.They also stated that among the people who died in the incident, there was a 6-month-old baby, four young children, two men and five women, two of whom were pregnant.
According to the statements of the survivors, there were 48 to 52 people on board when the boat sank and Erkal said the search and rescue operations are ongoing to locate at least 11 missing people.
More than 470,000 refugees arrived in Greece so far this year and at least 278 died during their attempt to cross the Aegean, International Organisation for Migration reports.
Turkish and European Union officials have been discussing a plan to help refugees in Turkey and stop the influx of refugees flowing into Europe.
The European Union has offered Turkey almost €3 billion in aid, easier travel visas along with “re-energised” talks over joining the EU. In return, the EU asks for Turkey’s help to stop the flow of refugees. Additionally, EU and Turkey have also agreed on stricter measures regarding border control to slow the influx of refugees.
According to UN Refugee Agency, Turkey hosts the largest number of Syrian refugees, with over 2 million.
Turkey has spent about $8 billion for the Syrian refugees since the start of the Syrian civil war in 2011.