Baku. 30 October. REPORT.AZ/ Greek authorities say 21 people have died after two boats carrying refugees from Turkey to Greece sank overnight, in the latest deadly incidents in the eastern Aegean Sea.
Report informs citing the foreign media, the Merchant Marine Ministry said 18 people were killed and 138 people were rescued near the island of Kalymnos, while another three died and six were rescued in a separate incident early Friday off the island of Rhodes.
The deaths occurred amid a surge of crossings to Greek islands involving refugees from Syria, Afghanistan and other countries ahead of winter and as European governments weight taking tougher measures to try and limit the number of arrivals in Europe.
Meanwhile, four children died after a boat carrying Syrian refugees sank in the Aegean Sea off Turkey's western Çanakkale coast early Friday, Turkish Coast Guard said.
The incident occurred off Ayvacık district when a fiber boat packed with Syrians, including women was sailing towards the Greek island of Lesbos, it said.
Nineteen people were rescued, while the bodies of four children, aged between four and one, were recovered, it added.
Eight people were killed early Thursday after a boat capsized off the island of Lesbos. At least 3,138 refugees, including the 291 in the Aegean Sea, have died while crossing the Mediterranean Sea so far this year, according to International Organization for Migration (IOM).
According to the UN Refugee Agency, the total number of arrivals in 2015 so far in Europe via the Mediterranean is now over 643,000.
The Turkish Coast Guard rescued 340 refugees over a 24-hour period, the military said Thursday. The refugees were found on boats off the Turkey's western coast of Izmir, Aydın, Mersin and Muğla provinces, the Turkish General Staff said in a statement on its website.