Four migrants die as boat sinks off Turkey

Four migrants, including a baby, died early Tuesday morning after a dinghy sank off Turkey’s northwestern coast, the Turkish coast guard said, according to Reuters.

The deaths, along with the detention of more than 650 irregular migrants across Turkey in the past two days, according to state-run Anadolu Agency, point toward increased migration with the arrival of spring and warmer waters in the Mediterranean.

The coast guard ended its search and rescue operation off Turkey’s Ayvacık coast after retrieving 11 other migrants who had been on board the small boat, which carried Iranian and Afghan migrants, according to Hürriyet newspaper.

Turkey emerged in 2015 as one of the main launch points for migrants, mainly Syrians fleeing conflict, taking the sea route to the European Union. The migrant flow has been drastically reduced by a 2016 accord between Ankara and the EU, though aid groups say that it has also increased migrant suffering.

According to the International Organisation for Migration, around 2,300 people died crossing the Mediterranean Sea last year, almost double the 2017 total.