Nine Migrants, Including Two Babies, Drown Off Turkish Coast

ISTANBUL (Reuters) -

Nine people, including two babies, were found drowned off the coast of western Turkey on Tuesday after a boat carrying people to Greece partially capsized.

The fiberglass vessel began to capsize before dawn, off the coast of Seferihisar in Izmir province, close to the Greek Island of Samos. Two people were rescued while swimming to the shore, the Turkish coast guard said.

Neither the dangerous winter weather conditions nor the crackdown on illegal immigration has deterred tens of thousands from boarding flimsy boats and attempting to cross the Mediterranean during the first few weeks of the year.

More than 360 people died in the Mediterranean in January including more than 100 over the last weekend of the month, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) reported on Tuesday.

In January, 60 children died trying to get to Greece in this way, bringing the number of minors drowned on this route, to a total of 330 over the past five months.

IOM said more than 67,000 migrants had arrived in Greece and Italy in January 2016 (the vast majority in Greece) compared to only 5,000 during the same month in 2015.