23 migrants en route to Europe die after 2 boats capsize in separate accidents

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AFP PHOTO / PAU BARRENA

Twenty-three migrants trying to reach Europe died after their boats capsized in two separate incidents in Greek and Turkish waters, the Rudaw news website reported.

A boat carrying more than 50 migrants, including people from the Kurdistan region, sank in the Ionian Sea southwest of the Greek island of Paxos on Saturday, killing 12.

The cause of the accident was unclear, according to The New York Times, citing Coast Guard spokesman Nikolaos Lagadianos.

Sunday’s incident was a repeat of the all too frequent sinking of ill-equipped migrant boats between Turkey and Greece in recent years, drowning hundreds of mostly Syrians fleeing war in their home country.

In a separate incident that same night, 11 migrants including eight children drowned when their boat sank off the coast of western Turkey, the state-run Anadolu news agency quoted the Turkish Coast Guard as saying.

Citing municipal officials in the Aegean coastal city of Izmir, Rudaw said all the migrants were from Syria and that six people, including the owner of the boat, were arrested by Turkey’s coast guard.

According to Rudaw, 371 migrants have managed to reach the Greek island of Lesbos since the beginning of 2020, on seven boats that travelled through Turkish waters.

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