18 Migrants Drown in Aegean Sea Crossing Turkey to Greece

18 Migrants Drown in Aegean Sea Crossing Turkey to Greece
Sun Mar 6, 2016 21:05:23

At least 18 refugees have lost their lives while attempting to cross from Turkey to Greece in the Aegean Sea, an official says.

According to a Turkish official who was speaking on condition of anonymity, the refugees died on Sunday when their boat capsized off the coastal town of Didim in southwest Turkey.

The Turkish coastguard reportedly managed to save 15 of the refugees on the boat, and is continuing to search for the bodies of the refugees who have gone missing.

The nationalities of the victims as well as the total number of the people on the boat were not mentioned in reports.

The tragedy comes on the heels of a Thursday visit by the European Council’s President Donald Tusk to Greece, a first destination of most of the refugees bound for Europe. During his stay in Greece, Tusk warned refugees against making perilous journeys to Europe.

Europe is facing an unprecedented influx of refugees, most of whom are fleeing conflict-ridden zones in Africa and the Middle East, particularly Syria. The refugees often arrive in Greece by sea, from where they seek to continue a journey to more prosperous Western European countries. Along the way, and particularly on the Aegean Sea, the refugees face danger and death.

Many blame the Western countries’ intervention in conflicts in the Middle East as the main reason behind the refugees’ decision to leave their home countries.

More than 131,000 asylum seekers have reached Europe via the Mediterranean so far this year, more than the total number recorded in the first half of 2015, according to the latest figures by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).

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