The first victim of the worsening crisis that has engulfed Greece since Turkey’s abrupt decision to open its borders to thousands of refugees desperate to reach Europe has been confirmed with the death of a child in waters off Lesbos, The Guardian reports.
As Turkish leader, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, warned that millions of people would soon be heading westwards, Greek authorities announced that a four-year-old Syrian boy had died when a dinghy carrying 48 men, women and children capsized off the island.
“Doctors rushed to save the child but it was too late,” said a police source on Lesbos, adding that the inflatable had been deliberately slashed as it approached the isle so as to trigger a rescue operation.
The fatality underscored the dangerously escalating tensions between the two Nato neighbours and regional rivals.
It came as Greece continued to reinforce its borders, rushing elite forces, more soldiers and extra guards, to its eastern Aegean islands and the land frontier it shares with Turkey.
The Turkish coastguard released footage on Monday that showed Greek boats trying to stop a packed inflatable dinghy of migrants trying to reach European shores.
In the footage the Greek coastguard boats pull in front of the dinghy and men on board hit or prod the inflatable with a long pole or boat hook. In one clip a large boat passes quickly by, washing the dinghy with its wake, while in another warning shots are fired into the water near the migrants.