NATO STEPS UP EF­FORTS ON MI­GRANTS

Al­liance will send more ships to Aegean Sea; EU is to meet Mon­day

Chicago Sun-Times - - NATION/ WORLD - John Ba­con

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.

DIM­I­TAR DILKOFF, AFP/ GETTY IM­AGES

Peo­ple rush to get fire­wood in amakeshift camp on the Greek- Mace­do­nian bor­der near the Greek vil­lage of Idomeni on Sun­day.

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