Nine migrants, including two babies drowned off Turkish coast

ISTANBUL: Nine people, including two babies, were found drowned off the coast of western Turkey on Tuesday after a boat carrying people to Greece partly capsized, the coast guard said.

The fibreglass vessel partially capsized before dawn off the coast of Seferihisar in Izmir province, close to the Greek Island of Samos. Two people were rescued swimming to the shore, the Turkish coast guard said.

A crackdown on illegal crossing and the dangerous winter conditions have failed to deter tens of thousands from boarding flimsy boats and attempting to cross the Mediterranean in the first few weeks of the year.

More than 360 people died in the Mediterranean in January including more than 100 over the final weekend, the International Organisation for Migration said on Tuesday.

In January, 60 children died trying to get to Greece in this way, bringing the total number of minors drowning on this route to 330 over the past five months.

IOM said more than 67,000 had arrived in Greece and Italy, the vast majority in the former, compared with 5,000 in the same month in 2015.

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