At least 35 refugees drown as their boat sinks in Aegean Sea

At least 35 refugees, including children, died when their boat sank in the Aegean Sea while attempting to cross from Turkey to a Greek island

Photo by: AA
Photo by: AA

A refugee woman mourns as members of a Turkish medical team take a refugee boy to a hospital after a boat sank in the Aegean sea close to coast of Ayvacik district, Canakkale, Turkey on January 30, 2016.

At least 35 refugees, including children, died in in Aegean Sea, off Turkey’s western coast on Saturday, the Turkish Coast Guard said, in what has been the latest loss of refugees in the region.

Their boat had set off from the district of Ayvacik in Canakkale Province and was heading for Lesbos, one of the main Greek islands located just a few kilometres off Turkey’s Aegean coastline.

Among the casualties were nationals of Afghanistan, Myanmar and Syria. According to the coast guard, their vessel set off from near Bademli, a village in Canakkale Province, before running into trouble during the crossing and sinking.

A patrol was able to save 75 refugees.

Turkey’s Aegean provinces - Canakkale, Balikesir, Izmir, Mugla and Aydin - are prime spots for refugees leaving Turkey for the EU, with many Greek islands lying within sight of the Turkish coast.

Over the past year, hundreds of thousands have made short but perilous journeys in a bid to reach northern and Western Europe in search for a better life.

Of the more than 1.1 million refugees who arrived in the EU last year, more than 850,000 arrived by sea to Greece from Turkey, according to the International Organisation for Migration (IOM). Over the course of the year, 805 people died in the Aegean.

In the first month of 2016, more than 52,000 people arrived by sea in Greece and 218 have died off the Turkish coast, the IOM said.

TRTWorld, AA