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Suspected refugee found dead on Greek-Turkish border

Over 3,000 migrants have died while crossing the Mediterranean in 2017 [AFP]

Date of publication: 31 December, 2017

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An unidentified body was found late Thursday in the icy Evros River between Turkey and Greece, which police believe was a refugee.

Greek police say they have found the body of a man, believed to be a refugee, in a river that flows along the country's northeastern border with Turkey and which is on a route used by migrants.

The unidentified body was found late Thursday in the icy Evros River with police announcing the discovery on Friday.

Thousands of refugees and migrants enter Greece every year from Turkey on their way to Europe's more prosperous heartland, where they hope to make a better life. Most choose the short sea crossing in flimsy smuggling boats to the eastern Aegean islands.

Greece has built a fence along part of its land border with Turkey, but many migrants still cross the Evros.

Earlier this week, hundreds of refugees were rescued across off the coast in Libya before rough weather hit the area.

Some 255 migrants were rescued in the Mediterranean off the coast of Libya overnight, just before a front of bad weather hit the area, the Italian coastguard said on Tuesday.

The non-governmental organisation Proactiva Open Arms picked up a rubber dinghy carrying 134 people, including seven children, on Monday night. They were to be transferred to the Aquarius rescue ship operated by another NGO, SOS Mediterranean, before being taken to Pozzallo in Sicily.

A military ship from the European anti-smuggling operation Sophia also rescued 121 people aboard two other boats, the coastguard said.

According to the Italian daily La Repubblica, smugglers have lowered the price of a crossing to 400 euros ($475) per person, in part due to the bad winter weather, but they are still cramming as many migrants as possible into the dinghies.

In 2017 alone, over 3,000 migrants have died while making the perilous journey across the Mediterranean, according to the Missing Migrants Project. 

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