Six Afghan migrant children drown off Turkey: reports

December 08, 2015

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Migrants and refugees wait to cross the Greek-Macedonian border near Idomeni. -AFP/File
Migrants and refugees wait to cross the Greek-Macedonian border near Idomeni. -AFP/File

ISTANBUL: At least six children died on Tuesday when a boat carrying Afghan migrants sank in Turkish waters while on its way to Greece, local media reported.

The Turkish coastguard recovered the bodies of the children, including a baby, and were still looking for two other migrants reported missing, the official Anatolia news agency said.

The inflatable dinghy sank in strong winds and high waves near the town of Cesme in western Izmir province, Anatolia said. It was apparently heading for the Greek island of Chios.

Eight other migrants, all wearing life jackets, were rescued, Dogan news agency said.

In a separate incident, the body of Sajida Ali, a five-year-old migrant girl, washed up on a beach in Cesme on Monday, Dogan said.

Morocco finds 11 migrant bodies off Atlantic coast

The bodies of 11 African migrants were found by the Moroccan navy on Tuesday after their boat capsized in the Atlantic Ocean, the official MAP news agency said.

Local officials told MAP that a vessel carrying the migrants overturned around 140 kilometres south of Boujdour in Western Sahara after encountering bad weather.

They said the migrants were trying to reach Spain's Canary Islands.

On Monday, the Spanish coastguard rescued 47 African migrants aboard a ship heading for the islands, which used to be a key route for Africans trying to reach Europe, but their numbers fell after Spain increased patrolling.

Migrant arrivals in the archipelago peaked at over 30,000 in 2006 but fell back to just 296 in 2014, according to interior ministry figures.

A flow of refugees

The picture of three-year-old Syrian refugee Aylan Kurdi, whose body was found washed up on a Turkish beach in September, horrified the world, pressuring European leaders to step up their response to the refugee crisis.

Turkey hosts more than two million refugees from the Syrian conflict and is the main launching point for migrants coming to Europe, via Greece.

Turkish authorities have stepped up efforts to stop migrants from leaving for Greece after Turkey and the European Union reached a deal to stem the flow of refugees into Europe on November 29.

The authorities last week rounded up 3,000 migrants as they were preparing to make their way to the Greek island of Lesbos from the northwestern town of Ayvacik in Canakkale province.

More than 886,000 migrants have arrived in Europe by sea so far this year, according to the latest UN figures.