Migrant boat sinks off Turkish coast, 8 killed
AP

Migrant boat sinks off Turkish coast, 8 killed

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Migrant boat sinks off Turkish coast, 8 killed

FILE - In this Dec. 3, 2019 file photo, refugee women walk with their children on a main street, in Ankara, Turkey. Turkey currently host about four million Syrian refugees and faces a possible new refugee influx from Syria, where Russian and Syrian government forces have redoubled their offensive in Idlib, the last rebel-held province.

ANKARA, Turkey (AP) — A boat carrying migrants sank off Turkey's Aegean coast, killing eight people, Turkey's Interior Ministry said Friday. A search-and-rescue mission continued for about seven migrants thought to be missing.

A ministry statement said a rubber boat with about 15 people on board went down late Thursday off the coast of Fethiye, in Turkey's southwest corner.

The coast guard dispatched three boats, a team of divers, a plane and a helicopter to the area as soon as it received word of the sinking. The bodies of eight people, three of them women, were recovered, the ministry said.

There was no information on the nationalities of the migrants who were on the boat.

Turkey is a main crossing point for migrants trying to make their way to Europe to escape violent conflicts or economic hardship.

A deal between Turkey and the European Union in 2016 helped stem migration flows, but many asylum-seekers still attempt the dangerous trip across the Aegean Sea to Greek islands. Authorities in both Athens and Ankara have reported an increase in migrant arrivals since the summer.

In 2019, Turkish coast guards prevented 60,802 migrants from embarking for Europe from the Turkish coastline, the Sabah newspaper reported.

Turkey hosts an estimated 3.7 million Syrian refugees, the world's largest refugee population.

Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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