Rabat - Twenty-four migrants, including women and children, have died after the boat they were travelling on capsized off the coast of Turkey overnight.
Rabat – Twenty-four migrants, including women and children, have died after the boat they were travelling on capsized off the coast of Turkey overnight.
Reports in the Turkish media state that the incident took place just two miles off the country’s coast, as the migrants aimed to reach the Greek island of Lesbos.
Many hoped that the new year would bring new fortunes for those making the difficult journey. But just over a month into 2016 it is already estimated that 400 migrants have died while attempting to gain entrance to Europe, according to the International Organization for Migration (IOM).
It is believed that the migrants were forced further north, as a new wave of Russian-backed fighting has erupted in the northern region of the province of Aleppo.
Reports over the weekend suggest that recent military advance have forced at least 35,000 Syrians to flee their homes in search of safety. Large refugee camps are being established in the the country’s northwest as a result.
EU officials pleaded with Turkey to allow these migrants into the country on moral grounds, while Turkey claimed there was no need as these migrants had been given all necessary shelter. It appears as if some felt they had no choice but to make the dangerous journey by sea.
News of the incident broke as German Chancellor Angela Merkel leaves Turkey after discussions regarding how to reduce the number of migrants coming into Europe.
Following the meeting, Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said that both Germany and Turkey would seek to control the flow of migrants by utilizing NATO resources in the Aegen Sea.
Photo credit: AP