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41 migrants rescued off Turkey's Aegean coast

Thursday January 11, 2018

FILE - volunteers help migrants and refugees on a dingy as they arrive at the shore of the northeastern Greek island of Lesbos, after crossing the Aegean sea from Turkey.

ISTANBUL, Jan. 11 (Xinhua) -- The Turkish coast guard on Thursday rescued 41 illegal migrants after their inflatable boat sank off Turkey's Aegean coast.

The accident happened near Foca district in the western province of Izmir. All the migrants aboard were rescued, according to the coast guard.

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The migrants include 13 Afghans, eight Syrians, six Angolans, six Sierra Leoneans, three Eritreans, two Malians, one Iraqi, one Somali and one Comoran, the statement said, adding they are believed to have tried to sneak into a Greek island.

The Aegean Sea was a favored route for illegal migrants seeking to reach European countries via Turkey, but a deal signed between Turkey and the European Union in March 2016 has reduced the flow of illegal migration through this route.

The Turkish coast guard data suggested that the number of illegal migrants via Turkey was 21,937 in 2017, down from over 37,000 in 2016.

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