Eighteen Refugees Drown as Boat Sinks off TurkeySoutheast Europe | December 19, 2015, Saturday // 15:05| views
Refugees and migrants arrive in an overloaded rubber dinghy on the Greek island of Lesbos (Lesvos), Greece, 15 December 2015 after crossing the Aegean Sea from Turkey. Photo: EPA
Eighteen people drowned as the boat carrying them sank in the Aegean Sea off the Turkey's southwestern coast late on Friday.
The wooden vessel, which was packed with refugees, including citizens of Syria and Iraq, was attempting to reach the Greek island of Kos when it sank in Bodrum bay.
Fourteen people were rescued, but eighteen, including children, were found dead in the sea, the Turkish coast guard informed, Daily Hurriyet reports.
Kos and other Greek islands are located only kilometres from the Turkish coast, turning them into an attractive destination for refugees seeking to enter the EU.
In the past year, thousands of people have attempted the dangerous crossing across the Aegean Sea, but worsening weather conditions are making the journey more hazardous than usual.
According to the International Organization for Migration (IOM), 801 919 people have arrived in Greece by sea from the beginning of the year until December 17, with another 4256 having arrived by land.
Most of the crossings originate from Turkey and in the first two weeks of December alone, 45 255 people reached the Greek islands from Turkey.
So far this year, 706 deaths have occurred on the eastern Mediterranean route.
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