6 Syrian migrants die in the Mediterranean to Europe

QAMISHLI, Syria (North Press) – Six Syrian migrants, including three children, died from thirst and hunger on Monday while trying to cross the Mediterranean Sea to Europe.

The UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) said 26 rescued migrants who arrived in the Sicilian port of Pozzallo said the bodies of six people had been left at sea.

A merchant ship had rescued the migrants, mainly Syrians and Afghans, from a small boat in distress off the Libyan coast, Euro news reported.

“They died of thirst, hunger and severe burns,” Chiara Cardoletti, UNHCR’s representative to Italy, wrote on Twitter.

“This is unacceptable. Strengthening rescue at sea is the only way to prevent these tragedies,” she added.

According to a UNHCR statement, the victims were three children aged 1, 2, and 12, and three women.

Another 26 survivors, many in an “extremely serious” condition, were brought to Sicily and taken into care in Pozzallo, a town in Sicily in southern Italy, it added.

“More than 1.200 people have died in the Mediterranean Sea in 2022, adding to the horrifying tally of almost 25.000 deaths since 2014. While the endless tragedy has many causes, the decision of European governments to prioritize border control over sea rescue is central,” said Judith Sunderland, Associate Director, Europe and Central Asia Division, on Tuesday. 

“The European Union has abdicated its responsibility to ensure search and rescue in the Mediterranean. No EU ships actively patrol anywhere near where most boats enter into distress,” she added. 

Sunderland pointed out that EU governments and institutions have largely “turned a blind eye to unlawful and dangerous pushbacks of boats to Turkey by Greece in the Aegean Sea.”

Migration from Syria is increasing in general due to the deteriorating living conditions and security measures in a country ravaged by warring parties.

Syrian refugees in Turkey have started to leave for Europe due to increased racism and offences against Syrian refugees living there, according to reports. 

Reporting by John Ahmad