Six children drown as refugee boat sinks off Turkey

Afghan kids die in the Aegean Sea as UN refugee agency urges Jordan to allow in 12,000 stranded Syrian refugees.

    Six children drown as refugee boat sinks off Turkey
    Members of the European Border Protection Agency from Portugal rescue 56 people off the Greek island of Lesbos on Tuesday [AP]

    At least six Afghan children, including a baby, have died after an inflatable boat carrying refugees sank in the Aegean Sea off the coast of Turkey, Turkish media have said.

    The Turkish coastguard recovered the bodies of the drowned children and were still looking for two other refugees reported missing, the official Anadolu news agency said on Tuesday.

    The rubber dinghy, which was apparently heading for the Greek island of Chios, capsized in strong winds and high waves near the town of Cesme in Turkey's western Izmir province, Anadolu said.

    READ MORE: Follow the journeys of refugees who risk everything to reach Europe

    Eight other refugees, all wearing life jackets, were rescued, Dogan news agency said.

    In a separate incident, the body of a five-year-old refugee girl washed up on a beach in Cesme on Monday, Dogan said.

    Hundreds of people have drowned this year in the Aegean Sea, including dozens of children, as hundreds of thousands of refugees are risking the dangerous journey to Europe fleeing conflict and worsening humanitarian conditions.

    Border appeal

    Meanwhile, the UN refugee agency (UNHCR) has called on Jordan's government to allow in 12,000 Syrian refugees who are stranded across the border.

    "The lives of refugees will be at risk in the coming months," UNHCR spokesperson Melissa Fleming told a news briefing in Geneva.

    "So today the UNHCR appeals to the government of Jordan to allow refugees stranded at the border to enter the country."

    The UNHCR said the refugees have recently amassed near Rukban and Hadalat in Syria, while some have gathered on an earthen wall just inside Jordan.

    The Geneva-based agency, which praised Jordan's "tremendous contribution" by taking in about 630,000 Syrian refugees, said the Azraq refugee camp in the country's east has available hosting capacity.

    A general view of the Azraq refugee camp in Jordan [Muhammad Hamed/Reuters]

    SOURCE: Agencies


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