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EU forces to launch anti-smugglers operations but let babies & children drown in the Aegean

A human tragedy occurred in the early morning hours of Sunday in the eastern Aegean Sea. A boat carrying refugees to Greece capsized and sunk, 3 nautical miles of the island of Farmakonisi. Several dozens people fell into the cold water, some of them were wearing life vests. But some people were trapped inside, when the boat flipped over in the sea, while winds were blowing with an intensity of 7 Beaufort.

Four infants were drowned. Also eleven children, 6 boys and 5 girls. Ten women and nine men did not make it as well. the Greek coat guard has reportedly rescued 68 people , while 31 passengers managed to swim to safety.  The number of missing is not known yet. Information about how many people were fleeing the war in Syria on this specific wooden boat on Sunday is not clear.

“Rescuers, who were alerted shortly before dawn by a resident of Farmakonisi, found most of the bodies floating near the wreck, but divers recovered seven from the cabin of the boat. Of the 15 children found dead, four were infants, the official said. The victims’ nationalities were not immediately known.”

Greek media report of a case, where the coast guard managed to save a baby, almost a month old, from certain death. “When they pulled the baby from the sea, it was almost frozen. They wrapped it in a blanket and tried to keep warm near the heater in the coast guard boat. The baby from Syria recovered and was saved.”

On the island of Leros where the rescued have been transferred, volunteers report of heartbreaking scenes and unbearable pain. A woman soaked in tear cries for her 9-month baby and her older child, 9 years old. A father mourns for his wife and his two kids, a young woman is desperately searching for her fiance. A mother keeps calling the name of her boy, survivors tell her that the boy has been drowned.

Some of the survivors will be taken to the island of Rhodes in order to recognized the bodies of the drowned. Then they will be probably taken back to Leros, get registered, get on a ferry boat to Piraeus port, arrive in Athens. They will spend some days in the Greek capital until they find a way to continue their way to other European capitals.

They will bury their pain deep in their heart and try to move on – literally and metaphorically. Another tragedy, the tragedy number 12? 13? 25? will be forgotten by the media and the politicians and the shocked public.

Then another tragedy will happen: another boat will capsize or break apart, another unknown number of children, women and men will drown. Again the media and the politicians and the public will be shocked. And forget it again… until another tragedy will happen.

A vicious cycle of human tragedies and drowned babies, that have turned the Aegean and the Mediterranean into the Sea of  the Dead Children.

refugee baby Lesvos

Greek Coast Guard announced on Monday of 58 incidents in the last 3 days, where 1,429 refugees were rescued. 

In a picture above, a father ties to swim carrying his  baby. Together with other refugees, father and baby were on a plastic boat on their way form Turkey to the island of Lesvos, Greece.

Short off the Greek island, a hole in the plastic had the boat start sinking and desperate men and women trying to rescue their babies and children form certain death.

ΦΩΤΟ REUTERS

We have been reading since beginning of the spring about these tragedies and the slow-paced European Union still tries to find ways to cope with the Refugee Crisis.

Scared to death of losing power, coalition partners and voters, Germany violated the Schengen rules and decided to re-impose boarder checks. Neighboring Austria is about to do the same, Slovakia announced it already. Soon it will be inevitable that all EU countries with land borders will do the same. Except for Greece and Italy and  Spain, the countries where the majority of refugees arrive to using the sea way.

Unable to agree on the Refugees Distribution Quotas and incapable to halt the to the causes for migration, like find diplomatic solutions to end the war in Syria and Libya, for example, the European leaders hit … Bingo! They will use military force in order to stop the long swim of war refugees. They will try to curb the human smuggling with military vessels, submarines and aircraft.

The EU body for extenuate operations EU NAVFOR MED will expands its mandate and will launch anti-human smugglers operations.

EU NAVOR MED that was established in May 2015, has a mandate of three phases:

Phase one, in the EU’s words, consisted of “surveillance and assessment of human smuggling and trafficking networks” and started in June.

Phase two “provides for the search and, if necessary, diversion of suspicious vessels” in international waters and is expected to start in mid-October.

Phase three “would allow the disposal of vessels and related assets, preferably before use, and to apprehend traffickers and smugglers” also in Libyan waters and on Libya’s coasts.

September 16th, the EU member countries will meet for a conference on the issue and will pledge more naval assets for an operation to curb human smuggling in the Mediterranean Sea.

The “force generation conference”, to take part in Brussels under the auspices of the EU external action service, comes after ministers, on Monday, gave the green light to “phase two” of “EUnavfor Med”.

The operation currently has eight vessels, including two submarines, and several aircraft from 14 member states.

Monday’s decision will also see EU officials begin to draft “rules of engagement” for phase two, which must be approved by EU ambassadors in the Political and Security Committee before EUnavfor Med switches up a gear.

No worries.The EU Navfor MEd will not dispose smugglers’ boats loaded with refugees.

An internal EU document on the project, seen by EUobserver in May, warned that: “Non-compliant boarding operations against smugglers in the presence of migrants has a high risk of collateral damage including the loss of life”.

KTG understands that the EUNavfor Med will operate in the international waters between Libya and the rest of the European world.

Refugees’ babies and children will be apparently further allowed to be drowned in the Aegean Sea.

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11 comments

  1. Hold your anger, shed your tears. This is the result of long term foreign policy at the hands of the USA, with the help of NATO and Britain, and approved by many more. We are all damned. The most immediate fault, however, is with EU policy and particularly with those countries who have discounted the terrible effect upon those migrants and refugees attempting to escape the intolerable conditions. NOW they want to act against people smugglers who have profited from this?? The EU rules and regulations, plus the announcement of Germany’s plan to take 800 thousand refugees has caused a transmigration by boat and then mainly on foot across south-eastern Europe, of utmost hardship. The foolish, unthinking, self-satisfied bureaucrats in power should be, at least metaphorically, strung up. There should have been centres in and around Syria where visas and documents were issued, so that families, most of whom had money, could travel safely to Europe in relative comfort. Now read and cry.

    • Giaourti Giaourtaki

      Germoney never said to take 800.000, but by law Germoney is obliged to host them until authorities will decide about their stay, so far only deportations stopped for people from Syria and deportations to Hungary but not let’s forget that Germoney was not only world-champion in corrupting Greek politicians with 2 billion but also in deportation as indicated by the Christians of “Pro-Asyl”; due to deportation and migration Germoney looses every year around 800.000 anyway.
      Increase by boat was already happening before this “announcement” and has much more to do with the Turkish plans to invade the north of Syria to destroy the new-born Kurdish radical-democratic state. The numbers of refugees that are reaching Austria and Germoney indicate that there were much more on their way than were to be seen in Hungary and brought from the islands.

      • bullshit, its a minute minority that actually get deported, its even a minority amongst the ones who should get out of the country because they dont qualify for asylum. also government is expecting more like 1 million by now.

        • Giaourti Giaourtaki

          One can find the posters of ProAsyl online – “Abschiebeweltmeister” – so if you would be right this might be the result of their campaign against deportation and the 800.000 all invaded Amerika, Australia or migrated to Turkey?

    • I know Russian officials (and the Left elsewhere) likes to blame the USA and NATO (which of course is US again) for all the problems in the world… If anything, though, in the case of Syria I believe it was more US inaction (after the Libyan fiasco) that is to blame. And to be honest, I am not even certain what could have been a good course of action for the West.

      I just saw a YouTube video in Russian from Om TV, which sounds like a Russian opposition media (although you never know with this things). It blames the turmoil in Syria on the struggle between Qatar and Russia for the European natural gas market. According to the video, in 2011 Qatar was seeking access to the EU market after loosing US export opportunities due to the shale gas technology development there. While still being able to export LNG to the EU, Qatar was looking to construct a pipeline, which would make its gas prices much more competitive. Looking at the map, that pipeline would need to go through Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Syria and Turkey. However, Syria’s rulers belong to the Alawite sect of Shia Islam, while all the other countries are Sunni. That explained Qatar’s funding of Assad’s opposition since then. If they win, Qatar can build its pipeline. Assad’s victory, on the other hand, could provide Iran with an alternative route to export their carbohydrates to the Mediterranean — via Iraq and Syria. Their current options are to go via Turkey (a regional competitor) or Russia (which has its own oil and gas products to sell). The Russian government, continued the video, is the most interested party in the current status quo in Syria. Assad’s recent military failures might have prompted Putin to commit not only Russian weapons but also troops to fight his enemies.

      Maybe this is all just another conspiracy theory or anti-Russian propaganda. Take it for what it is, but it sounds plausible.

    • @Rosemary I think you are also making an excellent point (which seems to be shared by the UK Prime Minister David Cameron): the refugees should be registered and their asylum applications should be processed close to Syria — at the refugee camps across the border. That would protect them from the very dangerous (and expensive) trail to Europe.

      Having said that, I think it is even more important to help improve the conditions in which all refugees live. A path to emigration to Europe will help a relatively small portion of the refugees. Moreover, a process suggested by you and Cameron will likely be avoided anyway by the asylum seekers that want chose the country they go to (not just any European country, but a rich one, with better economic opportunities).

    • There should have been centres in and around Syria where visas and documents were issued, so that families, most of whom had money, could travel safely to Europe in relative comfort.

      It would be really good to see some proof of this popular piece of nonsense…
      A study carried out by the NGO UPP (working for the UN) on the general profile of the Syrian refugee debenked another piece of popularism. The “highly educated” Syrian refugee turns out to be in 61% of the cases a primary school only educated person, in 9% of the cases illiterate, the remainder has either a secondary or university eduation (it is however not specified what percentage for each of these). I could of course be wrong, but I have a strong suspicion that people with a primary school education only do not tend to be people “most of whom had money”…
      Another contributing factor to the mass migrant movement, seriously overlooked by those trying to keep their country “clean”, is the fact that the UN has REDUCED the monthly food allowance for refugees in the camps “close to Syria” from $30 to $13. If the war doesn’t kill them, then let’s make sure hunger does. And if that fails, there’s always Orban, the EC and the Mediterranean. Not to mention airstrikes and boots on the ground.
      The whole EU attitude reminds me of my youngers days in the UK when the place was littered with signs “No dogs, no Irish”. Maybe time for an update. “No dogs, No Syrians”, or good old David C could just be a little more general and simply advocate “No dogs, No refugees” while keeping on bombing their various homelands into obliviance. Of course, it’s all to do with “protecting our national interest”, the politicians equivalent of the car’s hazard lights. Hit the button and all traffic rules are suddenly unilaterally suspended.

  2. Eh, KTG , you are a real leftist in a positive sense.
    But to be honest : can European Union handle 3 billion of migrants ? Because most of America is relatively rich, China – middle income, Japan – rich , but all Africa and much of Asia are very poor. What to do ? Allow 3 billion ? And who would care about Greece then ?

    • lol showing human compassion is an attribute of ‘real leftists – in positive sense’? I thought, it was ‘Christian’.

      • Giaourti Giaourtaki

        Is Tinos ready? Someone met Jesus…
        Keep Talking Germany’s blog owner A. Merkel: “Honestly, if we have to start excusing ourselves for that we had shown a friendly face in a situation of emergency, that’s not my country,” regarding a journalists question about Germany’s responsibility for the migrant crisis that East Europeans blame