6 migrants freeze to death on Turkish-Greek border: report

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A lifebelt is seen on the beach of the port of Lesbos island on April 16, 2015. Since Greece bolstered controls along its land border with Turkey, along the Evros River, illegal immigrants have turned to the maritime route between Turkey and the Greek islands in the Aegean Sea, notably Lesbos, Samos, Kos and Chios. 2015 started with a major increase in the number of Aegean crossings: 10,445 against 2,863 in the same period of 2014, according to the Greek port police. AFP PHOTO / ANGELOS TZORTZINIS / AFP PHOTO / ANGELOS TZORTZINIS

Six migrants died of exposure to the cold in recent days in northeastern Greece near its land border with Turkey, a local coroner said Tuesday, The Associated Press reported.

The region is a popular corridor for illegal immigration.

Pavlos Pavlidis, who is based in the northeastern town of Alexandroupoli, said the victims were four men and two women, all under 30 years of age. Their identities and nationalities were unknown, although the two women appeared to be from Africa, he said.

Five of the bodies were found over the weekend and the sixth was discovered on Dec. 5, Pavlidis told The Associated Press. The bodies of the two women were found near the Evros River, which flows along much of the land border between Greece and Turkey. The men were found in hilly terrain.

All were believed to have entered illegally from Turkey. Although most of the migrants entering Greece from Turkey use the sea route in small, unseaworthy boats provided by smuggling gangs, many opt for the Evros land corridor.

Winter temperatures in the area drop to well below freezing, especially overnight.

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