Boat with 17 people capsizes off Turkey’s coast, 7 dead

Istanbul [Turkey]: Around seven refugees, including five children, lost their lives after an inflatable boat carrying them sank off Turkey’s Aegean coast on Friday, according to the Turkish coast guard.

At least 17 people, including one human trafficker, were said to be on board when the boat capsized near the Ayvalik district in the northwestern province of Balikesir, Xinhua quoted the coast guard as saying.

Five refugees have been rescued until now as authorities continue efforts to locate another five who are still missing.

While Turkey’s Aegean Sea was once the prime route used by migrants to flee from strife in their own countries to Europe, a deal between the country and the European Union in March 2016 reduced the flow of migration using the route.

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According to the Turkish coast guard, more than 7,100 migrants have attempted to cross over to the Greek islands through Turkey since the start of 2019.

Thousands of immigrants have lost their lives until now after undertaking dangerous sea travel on overcrowded rubber boats in a bid to escape turmoil in their own countries.

The death of a three-year-old Syrian boy, Alan Kurdi – whose body washed up on a beach in Turkey – brought the plight of the refugees to the forefront, leading to an international outcry.

The UN Human Rights Council launched a social media campaign ‘#WithRefugees’ after the little boy’s picture shocked the world. The campaign aims to unite people in showcasing their support for the refugees.

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