Nine Syrian migrants die off Turkish coast



At least nine Syrian migrants trying to reach Greece drowned early Wednesday when two boats sank in Turkish waters, a Turkish coastguard official said.

A Turkish official said that three migrants were rescued and six more were missing after a fibreglass boat, which was carrying 16 Syrians, sank after leaving Turkey’s Bodrum peninsula for the Greek Aegean island of Kos.

The corpses of seven migrants from the boat were found, the official told AFP.

In a separate incident, two people died when a boat carrying six Syrians towards Kos sank just off Bodrum, according to the same official.

Two people were rescued and search operations were continuing for the two others still missing.

In both accidents, the coastguard was mobilised after hearing cries for help from the sea.

There has over the last week been a dramatic spike in the numbers of migrants — mainly from Syria, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Africa — seeking to leave Turkey by sea for Greece in the hope of finding new lives in the European Union.

The Turkish government said on Tuesday that the coastguard rescued over 42,000 migrants in the Aegean Sea since the beginning of 2015 and more than 2,160 in the last week alone.

Migrants, many of whom have paid over $1,000 to smugglers for the risky passage, are taking advantage of the calm summer weather which makes this the best time for the crossing.

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