By Bahri Aikk, Suat Deniz
At least four people, including three children, drowned Tuesday in the Aegean Sea after their boat sank off the Didim district of the western Turkish province of Aydin.
While patrolling that area, the Turkish Coast Guard determined that one boat carrying Syrian refugees had sank.
The authorities began a search-and-rescue operation.
Squads pulled the bodies of four people from the Aegean Sea. The operation is still ongoing.
Turkey’s five Aegean provinces -- Canakkale, Balikesir, Izmir, Mugla and Aydin -- are prime spots for refugees leaving Turkey for the EU, with Greek islands lying within sight of the Turkish coast.
Over the past year, hundreds of thousands have made short but perilous journeys across the Aegean in a bid to reach northern and western Europe in search for a better life.
Worsening weather conditions in the winter make the trip even more dangerous. An estimated 805 people died at sea in the Aegean in 2015, according to the International Organization for Migration.