Seven migrants found dead, 19 rescued off Turkish coast, minister says

At least seven migrants were found dead on an island off the western Turkish coastal town of Cesme on Tuesday, Interior Minister Ali Yerlikaya said, adding that search and rescue efforts continued for one missing person.

Turkiye’s coast guard arrived at the scene after a fishing boat in the area raised the alarm at 10:47 a.m. (0747 GMT) and 19 migrants were rescued, Yerlikaya said on the X social media platform.
One helicopter, four coast guard vessels and a diving team were involved in the search and rescue operation, he added.A fishing boat carrying nearly 300 migrants to Europe has safely reached a southern Greek island after a large rescue operation in the Mediterranean Sea, Greek authorities said Monday.
There were no immediate reports of injury or ill health among the 283 migrants, the coast guard said.
A coast guard statement said a search was launched before dawn Monday after authorities were notified that a vessel carrying migrants was hit by high winds south of Crete.Fourteen people, including 12 Syrian migrants, have been found dead in Algeria’s southern desert province of Illizi, while five others remain missing, an official from the Syrian embassy in Algeria told AFP on Monday.
Search efforts to find the other five were still underway, said Bassem Farroukh, head of irregular migration at the Syrian embassy in Algeria.

“The victims came from Libya on Tuesday,” he added. “They were found dead on Saturday after they got lost in the desert.”
The migrants were found by the Search and Rescue Association, an NGO that specializes in rescuing people lost in the Algerian desert.
The association said it had identified the dead as two Algerians and 12 Syrians, including a 10-year-old and a 16-year-old.
Farroukh blamed Libyan authorities, whom he said expelled the migrants and “pushed them to flee toward Algeria.”
“We will see other Syrians leaving Libya in the same manner toward Algeria and I am afraid we must prepare ourselves for more disasters,” he said.
In 2016, 22 Syrians got lost in the Algerian desert after entering from neighboring Niger before being rescued by the Algerian army.
Many Syrians, as well as irregular migrants from other countries, come to North Africa in the hopes of making the dangerous sea crossing of the Mediterranean to Western Europe.
Syria remains the world’s largest displacement crisis, with 13.8 million people forcibly displaced inside and outside the country, according to the UN’s refugee agency, UNHCR.
The country has been ravaged by war since 2011, when intense clashes between President Bashar Assad’s troops cracked down violently on opposition groups amid the Arab Spring uprisings.
The war has killed more than half a million people and forced millions to flee their homes as Syria’s economy and infrastructure suffered severe damage.
Two coast guard vessels, four merchant ships and two smaller private boats took part in the operation, and the migrant vessel was located 18 nautical miles (20 miles) south of Gavdos, a small island off southern Crete. The fishing boat was finally able to reach the port of Gavdos with its own engines, and the migrants safely disembarked.
There was no immediate information as to the nationalities of the migrants, or where they had departed from.
Tiny Gavdos in recent months has become an important destination for migrant boats crossing the Mediterranean from eastern Libya. Typically, people from the Middle East, Africa and Asia seeking a better life in Europe pay thousands of dollars to smugglers for a spot on the dangerous, overcrowded vessels.
In June 2023, a rusty trawler that was carrying an estimated 750 people from Tobruk in eastern Libya to Italy sank off southwestern Greece leaving hundreds feared drowned. Only 104 passengers survived, and 82 bodies were recovered.
The coast guard said the migrants who reached Gavdos Monday were transported to southern Crete, from which they would be taken to the western port town of Chania.
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