At least seven illegal immigrants, including five children, died when a boat sank off Turkey's Aegean coast on Friday, the Turkish coast guard said.
The inflatable boat carrying a total of 16 refugees and a human trafficker capsized near the Ayvalik district in the northwestern province of Balikesir, the force said in a statement posted on its website, reported Xinhua news agency.
The coast guard rescued five refugees and were continuing to search for five others still missing, the statement said.
The Aegean Sea was once the main route for migrants fleeing into Europe via Turkey. A deal signed between Turkey and the European Union in March 2016 has helped reduce the flow of illegal immigration.
Since this year, a total of 7,181 migrants have attempted to reach Greek islands via Turkey, slightly down from 7,607 over the same period in 2018, according to figures released by the Turkish coast guard.
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