Greece-bound refugees killed in shipwreck

  • 16/09/2015

At least 22 Greece-bound migrants have drowned after their boat sank off Turkey, as police blocked hundreds of others seeking to find an alternative route to Europe by land.

Eleven women and four children were among the victims of the latest migrant shipwreck in the Aegean Sea, where three-year-old Syrian boy Alan Kurdi drowned two weeks ago, the Dogan news agency said.

A further 249 passengers were rescued from the wooden boat which set off from the southwestern Turkish resort town of Datca for the nearby Greek island of Kos, the Turkish coast guard said.

The migrants' nationalities are not yet known.

The deaths brings to 24 the number of refugees to have drowned off Turkey in the last day after two Syrians drowned trying to cross to the Greek island of Samos, Dogan reported.

The route across the Aegean Sea from Turkey to Greece has become the busiest for migrants and refugees fleeing conflicts and misery in Syria, Iraq and other Middle Eastern and Asian countries to Europe.

Of the more than 430,000 migrants and refugees to have reached Europe via the Mediterranean this year, some 300,000 landed in Greece, the International Organization for Migration said on Friday.

Faced with the mounting death toll at sea, a number of refugees wanting to leave Turkey have opted instead to take buses to Greece - but on Tuesday they found themselves thwarted by Turkish authorities.

Around 1000 migrants who had gathered in the western city of Edirne, close to the Greek border, were being barred by military police from leaving the bus station, an AFP photographer reported.

Some had undertaken at least part of the journey from Istanbul, around 250 kilometres away, on foot after being barred from purchasing bus tickets there.

Columns of people could be seen tramping along the road.