ISTANBUL (Reuters) – Six immigrants died on Turkey’s border with Syria after being swept away by a flood, state-owned Anadolu news agency said on Thursday.
The immigrants were trying to cross illegally to Turkey on the Syrian border of Turkey’s southern province of Hatay, Anadolu reported. It did not give the immigrants’ nationalities.
Turkey – which hosts 3.5 million Syrian refugees – became one of the main launch points for more than a million migrants taking the sea route to European Union territory in 2015, many fleeing conflict and poverty in the Middle East and Africa.
The influx of migrants was drastically curtailed by a 2016 accord between Ankara and the EU, after hundreds died crossing to Greek islands a few miles off the Turkish shore.
Mediterranean arrivals to the bloc, including refugees making the longer and more perilous crossing from North Africa to Italy, totalled 172,301 in 2017, down from 362,753 in 2016 and 1,015,078 in 2015, according to United Nations data.
(Reporting by Ali Kucukgocmen, Editing by William Maclean)