Over 30 migrants, mostly Kurds, feared dead after boat capsizes in Aegean Sea

A boat carrying 35 irregular migrants, many of them Kurds, capsized in the Aegean Sea on 9 October, killing all but one woman on board. According to the International Federation of Iraqi Refugees (IFIR), the woman survived because she could swim and had a lifejacket and was eventually rescued by the coastguard.

The woman, Mahabad Ismael, lost her husband and five children when the boat capsized. She said the boat ran out of fuel during the journey.

At least 19 of the migrants were believed to be Kurds from Duhok and Zakho. Most are said to be from two families. According to family members who spoke to Rudaw TV, one of the victims was part of the military forces of the Federal Region of Iraqi Kurdistan, who had fought against ISIS. Due to his son’s severe diabetes, the families travelled to Europe to seek medical support.

Off the coast of Turkey, 14 bodies are reported to have been retrieved. The Turkish coastguard had dispatched two boats, a helicopter and an aircraft to search for the rest of the missing people. Afghanis were believed to be among the migrants on board.

Under a deal with the European Union, Turkey has tightened control on its border with Europe, but hundreds still risk their lives on boats to cross the Aegean. This is largely attributed to the rise of ISIS and the financial crisis in Iraqi Kurdistan.

The head of the Kurdistan Region’s Migration Federation, Ari Jalal, told Anadolu Agency: “the number of Kurdish victims on the migration route continues to rise. Turkey’s and other European countries’ migration policies and border securities are tougher than ever before, so, we ask Kurdish people not migrate [irregularly].”

Previously on 9 August 2018, nine Iraqi migrants drowned in the Aegean Sea, including two mothers with their seven daughters.

TMP – 16/10/2018


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