Thousands of refugees, from Syria, Afghanistan and Iraq, make daily attempts to cross the Aegean Sea fromTurkey
Twelve migrants thought to be from Syria and Afghanistan, including four children and a baby, drowned off the coast of Turkey as they tried to reach the Greek island of Lesbos, the Turkish coastguard said on Saturday.
Reuters television footage showed bodies covered by plastic sheeting being brought ashore on a coastguard vessel near the Turkish town of Ayvacik, a few kilometres (miles) from the Greek island of Lesbos.
Read: Migrant child dies off Greece, others paddle across from Turkey
A coastguard official said 23 people had been rescued, some by a Turkish fishing boat. “The coastguard made an announcement saying a boat carrying Syrian migrants had sunk … and we went to the area to help them. We pulled out six bodies,” fisherman Sezer Simsek said, adding his boat had been able to rescue four people.
Thousands of refugees, mostly from Syria, Afghanistan and Iraq, make daily attempts to cross the Aegean Sea from nearby Turkey, a short but perilous trip by boat, often in rough seas. Almost 400,000 people have arrived in Greece this year, according to the UN refugee agency UNHCR, overwhelming the crisis-stricken government’s ability to cope.
bid, in an effort to secure cooperation onencouraging Syrian refugees not to head to Europe and deterring economic migrants from Asia.
Read: EU to speed up deportations to tackle migrant crisis
German Chancellor Angela Merkel will travel to Istanbul on Sunday to meet Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan and discuss the proposals. Erdogan said on Friday the EU had woken up too late to Turkey’s importance in stemming the flow of refugees and accused it of insincerity.