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Med boat accident kills Syrian girl, 4

Publisher: The Sunday Times
Author: Louise Callaghan
Story date: 20/09/2015
Language: English

A FOUR-YEAR-OLD Syrian girl became the latest casualty of Europe's refugee crisis yesterday when she drowned in the Aegean after the inflatable boat she was travelling on sank off the Greek island of Lesbos.

Members of the Greek coastguard found the child, named locally as Hanan al-Jarwan, unconscious.

She died in hospital a short time afterwards. A photo of Hanan posted on local news sites showed her body, still dressed in a colourful jumper, lying on a beach.

Hanan and her family are thought to have fled their home in al-Salihiyah, a small town in eastern Syria under Isis control, in the hope of a better life in Europe.

The pictures were reminiscent of the photograph of Aylan Kurdi, the threeyear-old boy washed up on a beach in Bodrun earlier this month, which provoked horror and sympathy across the world and a promoted a change in the migrant policy of several governments.

Out of the 24 people on the boat trying to reach Lesbos, 13 are still missing, feared drowned.

Nikos Lagkadianos, a spokesman for the Greek coastguard, said 11 people, all of whom were thought to be Syrians, were rescued and a 12th swam ashore on Lesbos in the early hours. A man and a child were taken to hospital with hypothermia.

The body of another fouryear-old Syrian girl who drowned while trying to reach Greece was reported to have been found on a beach in western Turkey on Friday.

Turkish media reported the child, who has not been identified, had been travelling with a group of Syrians from the Aegean town of Cesme to the Greek island of Chios when their inflatable boat sank. Fourteen people, including eight children, were rescued by the coast guard.

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