The number of refugees crossing the Aegean Sea from Turkey to Greece fell by 86 percent month-on-month in January, the Turkish Coast Guard announced Wednesday.
The data seems to reflect the success of the EU-Turkey deal that came into effect last March to put an end to illegal migration and clamp down on human trafficking.
According to the Coast Guard command, 756 people were intercepted in January, compared to 5,506 people in the same month last year. Last month's figure is the second lowest number of people intercepted in the Aegean in two years.
The International Organization for Migration has estimated there were more than 363,000 arrivals in Europe by sea last year.
Under a deal with the EU, Turkey has stepped up efforts to prevent illicit migrants reaching EU member Greece and has agreed to take back those who land in Greece in return for the resettlement of Syrian refugees in Europe.
Bad weather conditions and unsafe boats make the journey extremely dangerous. Still, tempted by the supposed advantages and ignoring the rising xenophobia in Europe, migrants take the perilous journey. Most say they prefer risking their lives instead of remaining in their war-torn, poverty-stricken countries. On Tuesday, five migrants perished in the Aegean Sea when their boat sank off the Turkish coast.
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