Six Syrian Kurdish migrant children among dead after boat sinks near Antalya, Turkey
On 3 June at 2:22am local time, a fisherman near Demre, in the coastal Turkish province of Antalya, reported a sinking boat. The boat was occupied by 15 Syrian migrants who were trying to make the perilous crossing to Greece.
Turkish authorities deployed four boats, a plane and a helicopter to attempt a rescue. The coastguard, with the help of civilian fishermen, was able to save six of the migrants from drowning, while a further nine were reported dead in the sinking. Of the nine dead, six were children, five of whom were Syrian Kurdish siblings whose parents were among the survivors taken to hospital after being rescued.
The five Kurdish siblings were identified as Derin Rashid, 13, Dildar Rashid, 10, Shyar Rashid, 8, Dizhwar Rashid, 8, and 3-year-old Amina Rashid.
The family had travelled from Syria to the Turkish city of Hatay in the hopes of migrating to Greece and eventually to mainland Europe.
“[Smugglers] put us on a boat and told us to leave. I thought there would be a captain but there was nobody. No one aboard knew how to sail. It would take ten minutes [to the Greek side] but we were stuck in the same place for two hours. In the end, it sank,” Idis Rashid, the father of the dead siblings said to the Daily Sabha newspaper. Rashid said he and his wife would have died too if it wasn’t for Turkish soldiers.
According to information from the Turkish coast guard, 26 migrants have died trying to make the journey across the Mediterranean to Greece, between January and May of this year.
It is not clear what the exact destination of the boat was, but authorities believe the migrants were trying to reach the Greek island of Kastellorizo where they could have applied for asylum.
Idris and Zaynab, parents of the five children who died when their boat sank near Antalya, Turkey
TMP – 08/06/2018