Twelve Syrians drown heading from Turkey to Greek island

ANKARA – An image of a drowned toddler washed up on the beach in one of Turkey’s prime tourist resorts swept across social media on Wednesday, after at least 12 presumed Syrian refugees died trying to reach the Greek island of Kos.

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The picture showed a little boy wearing a bright red t-shirt and shorts lying face-down in the surf on a beach near the resort town of Bodrum. In a second image, a grim-faced policeman carries the tiny body away. The hashtag “KiyiyaVuranInsanlik” – “humanity washed ashore” – became the top trending topic on Twitter after the picture was retweeted heavily.

 

The two boats, carrying a total of 23 people, had set off separately from the Akyarlar area of the Bodrum peninsula, a senior Turkish naval official said.

The confirmed dead included five children and one woman. Seven people were rescued and two reached the shore in lifejackets. The official said hopes were fading of saving the two people still missing.

Television images showed the lifeless body of a small boy dressed in a red t-shirt and blue shorts lying face-down on the sand in Bodrum, one of Turkey’s most popular beach resorts. Tens of thousands of Syrians fleeing the war in their homeland have descended on Turkey’s Aegean coast this summer to board boats to Greece, their gateway to the European Union.

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The official said almost 100 people in all had been rescued by Turkish vessels overnight as they tried to reach Kos. Aid agencies estimate that, over the past month, about 2,000 people a day have been making the short crossing to Greece’s eastern islands on rubber dinghies.

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