Footage of a Syrian baby boy being rescued by fishermen has emerged after a boat carrying him and other Syrian refugees had capsized in the Aegean Sea on Wednesday.
The inflatable boat sank offshore the Gulf of Kusadasi on Turkish territorial waters. Fifteen people are assumed dead as they remain missing, while 15 others were rescued. The refugees were attempting to reach the Greek Island of Kos.
Fishermen were among the rescue crew, as they were the one’s who saved Muhammed Halef, the 18-month-old baby boy who had suffered hypothermia. After receiving first aid he was hospitalised and discharged. Him and his mother are both staying with relatives.
Speaking to the Anadolu Agency, Halef said that they paid €2 thousand ($2,202) to the smugglers to cross the Aegean Sea. She said that the boat’s engine broke down three times before it capsized.
Halef also said that she was happy her son didn’t share the same fate with Aylan Kurdi - the Syrian toddler who’s dead body had washed up on a Turkish beach on September 2 - which caused public outrage across the world.
“I will return to my country even if there is war. I won’t take that journey again.”
Another asylum seeker, Cihan Cemil told AA, he wasn’t even happy to be rescued as his children were among the missing people.
“Dead or alive, I want my children. We’re miserable, help us.”
Meanwhile, one of the two people that had been detained for organising the illegal journey have been arrested.
The ongoing refugee crisis is mainly triggered by war and conflict in the Middle East and Africa.
The Turkey-Greece route is popular among refugees aiming to reach European countries, as it is the closest way to get from the Middle East to Europe.
More than 470,000 asylum seekers arrived in Greece since the start of this year alone, while hundreds of them were killed during their attempt to cross the Aegean Sea, according to the International Organisation for Migration.
Turkish and European Union officials have been discussing a plan to help refugees in Turkey and stop the influx of refugees flowing into Europe, which will mean stricter border measures concerning border control. As part of the plan, the EU offered Turkey almost €3 billion in aid, easier travel visas along with “re-energised” talks over joining the EU.
Turkey houses the largest number of Syrian refugees, with over 2 million settled across the country and has spent almost $8 billion since the start of the Syrian civil war in 2011.