NATO STEPS UP EFFORTS ON MIGRANTS
Alliance will send more ships to Aegean Sea; EU is to meet Monday
NATO announced an expansion of its naval involvement in Europe’s refugee crisis Sunday, and the death toll rose ahead of a European Union summit aimed at curbing the chaos.
European leaders hope to persuade Turkey to stem the flow of migrants into Europe from Syria and other embattled nations at a summit Monday. Financial support for the Turks and Greece also is in the works.
The crisis was dealt another tragic blow Sunday when a migrant boat capsized in the Aegean Sea off the Turkish town of Didim, killing more than two dozen people including at least 10 children, the Turkish Coast Guard said. Fifteen people were rescued.
NATO’s increased involvement aims to cut down on such tragedies and to frustrate human smuggling efforts, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said. The ships being sent to the Aegean will venture into territorial waters of the nations involved.
“The purpose of NATO’s deployment is not to stop or push back migrant boats, but to help our allies Greece and Turkey, as well as the European Union, in their efforts to tackle human trafficking and the criminal networks that are fueling this crisis,” the military alliance said.
Turkey is temporary home to an estimated 2million migrants.
People rush to get firewood in amakeshift camp on the Greek- Macedonian border near the Greek village of Idomeni on Sunday.