A look at the latest developments in Europe's migrant crisis

AP News
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Posted: Aug 21, 2015 11:10 AM
A look at the latest developments in Europe's migrant crisis

Record numbers of migrants and refugees fleeing violence and poverty in countries such as Syria and Afghanistan are trying to reach Europe, despite the risks of perilous sea crossings and the inability of countries to provide adequate humanitarian assistance. Here are the latest developments Friday:

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MIGRANT DEATHS: Turkish and Greek officials say two migrants have died after boats carrying them capsized.

Greek officials said a migrant died when a boat keeled over while trying to reach the island of Lesbos; fifteen were rescued. Meanwhile, Turkey's state-run Anadolu news agency says a Syrian woman drowned and nine other migrants were rescued after their boat sank Friday off the coast of Bodrum, as they tried to reach the Greek island of Kos.

The route between Bodrum and Kos is one of the shortest to the Greek islands. Thousands of migrants are attempting the perilous sea crossing despite the risks.

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TURKEY: The International Organization for Migration says Turkey's coast guard has coordinated nearly 31,000 rescues so far this year, already more than twice in all of 2014.

The IOM said the 30,846 Turkish coast guard rescues this year compares to less than 15,000 last year. Of those this year, three-quarters have been from Syria, while 15 percent came from Afghanistan and 5 percent each from Myanmar and Eritrea.

The Geneva-based inter-governmental group said the new figures come as IOM staffers on the Greek island off Lesbos reported this past week to be the single biggest for migrant inflows from Turkey all year, with 9,464 between last Friday and Wednesday alone.

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GREECE: Macedonian special police forces fired stun grenades to disperse thousands of migrants stuck in a no-man's land on the border with Greece, a day after declaring a state of emergency to deal with a massive influx of migrants heading north to the European Union.

Many in a crowd of 3,000 migrants who spent the night out in the open repeatedly tried to charge Macedonian police after the border was shut to crossings Thursday. Greek police say at least eight people were injured, and one youngster was bleeding from what appeared to be shrapnel from the stun grenades fired directly into the crowd.

Greece has faced an unprecedented wave of migrants this year sneaking onto its islands from the nearby Turkish coast, with more than 160,000 arriving so far.

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EUROPEAN UNION: The European Union's executive commission is aware of the "crisis situation" declared by Macedonia's government and is ready to help, a spokeswoman said.

Maja Kocijancic, spokeswoman for EU enlargement commissioner Johannes Hahn, said in Brussels: "At this stage, the commission is following closely the developments and measures already taken or foreseen by the government and establishing the facts."

Kocijancic said the bloc is already providing €90,000 in humanitarian funding to help Macedonia cope with migratory pressures.

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GERMANY: Berlin police have arrested three suspects in connection with a failed arson attack on a home for asylum-seekers.

Police said Friday that two men and a woman, whose names weren't released, were arrested in the area of the Thursday night attack. A watchman at the temporary housing unit saw a group in dark clothing throw burning wood into the compound just before midnight. A resident was able to extinguish the fire quickly, police said.

Germany has been largely welcoming to the tens of thousands of refugees arriving each month, but attacks on them and their shelters have been on the rise.