At least 24 people have died after a boat carrying refugees sank in the Aegean Sea off Turkey's western Balikesir province.
The Turkish Coast Guard said they rescued three survivors Monday morning, while another was rescued by a fishing boat following the incident near Edremit district, which is kilometers away from the Greek island of Lesbos.
A search-and-rescue operation is underway to find the missing refugees following survivors’ statements that there were around 40 people on board.
Turkey’s Aegean provinces -- Canakkale, Balikesir, Izmir, Mugla and Aydin -- are prime spots for refugees leaving for the EU, with many Greek islands lying within sight of the Turkish coast.
Over the past year, hundreds of thousands have made short-but-perilous journeys in a bid to reach northern and western Europe in search for a better life.
Of the more than 1.1 million refugees who arrived in the EU last year, more than 850,000 arrived by sea to Greece from Turkey, according to the International Organization for Migration (IOM).
Over the course of the year, 805 people died in the Aegean. In the first month of 2016, more than 52,000 people arrived by sea in Greece, according to the IOM; more than 200 have died off the Turkish coast.
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