At least seven people, including five children, drowned late Thursday, when a boat carrying refugees to a Greek island sank off Turkey’s Aegean coast, China’s Xinhua news agency reported the Turkish coast guard, as saying.
The boat was carrying 17 refugees when it capsized near Cesme district in the western province of Izmir, the coast guard said in a statement posted on its website.
The bodies of two women and five children have been found, the statement said, noting nine people, including Iraqi, Syrian and Somali nationals, were rescued.
The rescue operation for one missing migrant is on going, according to the statement.
The Aegean Sea was the main route for migrants being smuggled into European countries via Turkey.
A deal signed between Turkey and EU in March 2016 has helped stem the flow of illegal migration.
The Turkish coast guard put the number of irregular migrants via Turkey at 9,195 during the first seven months of this year, in contrast to more than 26,000 in 2016.