Turkey arrests 'four traffickers' over migrant toddler's death

Turkish authorities have arrested four suspected traffickers over the deaths of 12 Syrian migrants in two boat sinkings, including a three-year-old boy whose image became a viral symbol of the tragedy of refugees, a report said on Thursday.

AFP| Last Updated: Sep 03, 2015, 20:26 PM IST

Istanbul: Turkish authorities have arrested four suspected traffickers over the deaths of 12 Syrian migrants in two boat sinkings, including a three-year-old boy whose image became a viral symbol of the tragedy of refugees, a report said on Thursday.

The four, all Syrian nationals aged between 30 and 41, are accused of "causing the death of more than one person" and "trafficking migrants", the Dogan news agency reported.

They are to appear in court later today and television pictures showed the men being led away by police as they covered their faces.

Twelve migrants drowned on Wednesday when two boats sank in Turkish waters, in the latest tragedy to hit people seeking to cross the Aegean to Greece.

But attention has focused on three-year-old Aylan, whose tiny body was photographed washed up on a beach in the resort of Bodrum in an image that rapidly went viral on social media.

His four-year-old brother, Ghaleb, and their mother, Rihana also drowned when their boat sank.

Reports have said that the family, from the Syrian mainly Kurdish town of Kobane, wanted to eventually reach Canada.

There has over the last weeks been a dramatic spike in the numbers of migrants -- mainly from Syria, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Africa -- seeking to leave Turkey by sea for Greece in the hope of finding new lives in the European Union.