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At least 17 migrants drown near Turkey en route to Greece

By
Andrew V. Pestano
At least 17 migrants drowned on Sunday when their boat sank. More than 500,000 migrants have gained entry into the European Union to escape war and poverty. Pictured: A young boy crosses into Croatia from a road that passes through corn fields near the border town of Tovarnik, Croatia on September 20, 2015. Photo by Achilleas Zavallis/UPI
At least 17 migrants drowned on Sunday when their boat sank. More than 500,000 migrants have gained entry into the European Union to escape war and poverty. Pictured: A young boy crosses into Croatia from a road that passes through corn fields near the border town of Tovarnik, Croatia on September 20, 2015. Photo by Achilleas Zavallis/UPI | License Photo

BODRUM, Turkey, Sept. 27 (UPI) -- At least 17 migrants, believed to be Syrians, drowned Sunday off Turkey's southwestern coast after their boat en route to Greece.

Those who drowned were trapped in the boat's cabin as it sank. Five women and five children are among the dead. About 20 people wearing flotation jackets survived.

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The boat sank near the Turkish island of Cavusadasi, about 2 miles west of mainland Turkey, after setting off from the village of Gumusluk near the town of Bodrum. The migrants were attempting to reach the Greek island of Kos.

Bodrum is where the body Alan Kurdi, a three-year-old Syrian migrant, was found earlier this month. An image of Alan's lifeless body washed ashore generated worldwide attention over the migrant crisis.

In 2015, more than 500,000 migrants, mostly from Syria, Afghanistan, Iraq and Eritrea, have crossed into the European Union in attempts to flee war or poverty, according to EU border agency Frontex.

RELATED Kerry: U.S. to accept 100,000 refugees by 2017

On Tuesday, EU interior ministers approved a plan to relocate about 120,000 migrants through compulsory quotas across the continent. EU member countries that refuse to accept relocated migrants face a financial penalty of 0.002 percent of gross domestic product.

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Hungary, Romania, Slovakia and the Czech Republic voted against mandatory quotas, but have not said if they would appeal the vote.

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