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UN refugee agency: Syrians dead in Greek sinking

March 19, 2014

ATHENS, Greece (AP) — The United Nations refugee agency says seven migrants who drowned near a Greek island Tuesday were Syrian refugees, and renewed a call on the European Union to improve coordination in dealing with people fleeing the war.

Seven migrants, including two children, drowned and two remained missing after a boat crammed with immigrants traveling from nearby Turkey turned over near the Greek island of Lesvos. Eight people were rescued.

The UNHCR said Wednesday that the victims and survivors of the incident were Syrian, adding that it had sent officials to Lesvos where they interviewed the rescued migrants.

The agency called on the EU to create “legal migration alternatives” for Syrian refugees.

Twelve migrants from Syria and Afghanistan died in a similar accident in Greek waters on Jan. 20.

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