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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Paramilitary police officers investigate the scene before carrying the lifeless body of an unidentified migrant child, lifting it from the sea shore, near the Turkish resort of Bodrum, Turkey, early Wednesday, Sept. 2, 2015. A number of migrants are known to have died and some are still reported missing, after boats carrying them to the Greek island of Kos capsized. (AP Photo/DHA)[/caption]
In a image, a grim-faced policeman carries the tiny body away. This 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.
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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.
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. A ship bringing about 1,800 migrants and refugees from one of the islands arrived at the port of Piraeus near Athens on Tuesday night, the Greek coastguard said.
Thousands of people, mainly Africans, have also been trying to reach Europe via boat from Libya to Italy. The United Nations refugee agency UNHCR said four bodies had been pulled from the central Mediterranean on Tuesday and 781 migrants rescued, mostly from Nigeria, Ivory Coast and Senegal. So far this year, more than 2,500 people have died trying to cross the Mediterranean, the UNHCR said.