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Greek authorities rescue 145 migrants who were found stranded on a river islet on the Turkish border

THESSALONIKI, Greece (AP) — Greek authorities said they rescued 145 migrants found stranded Thursday on an islet on the river that runs along the northeastern land border with Turkey.

Police said that the 70 men, 45 women and 30 children were all in good health and identified as Syrians or Kurds. Greek authorities launched the rescue after being alerted to the migrants’ presence by a nongovernmental organization.

The Evros River — Meric in Turkish — is a key crossing point for migrants coming through Turkey to seek a better life in the European Union.

It’s quite common for smuggling gangs to dump migrants on islets mid-river and flee, to avoid arrest by Greek authorities, and confusion over the precise location and ownership of the islets can lead to delays in their evacuation.

Thousands of people also try to enter Greece by sea. On June 14, a battered fishing trawler carrying up to 750 people sank far off southwestern Greece, with only 104 survivors.

Graphic novels are displayed for sale at a bookstore in New York City on Sunday, October 8, 2023. On Tuesday, the Commerce Department releases U.S. retail sales data for September. (AP Photo/Ted Shaffrey)
Graphic novels are displayed for sale at a bookstore in New York City on Sunday, October 8, 2023. On Tuesday, the Commerce Department releases U.S. retail sales data for September. (AP Photo/Ted Shaffrey)

The ship had left Libya for Italy, and Greece’s coast guard has been widely criticized for failing to rescue the migrants before their vessel capsized and sank.

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Follow AP’s global migration coverage at https://apnews.com/hub/migration

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