Updated on February 8 at 3:20 p.m. ET
At least 27 asylum-seekers, including 11 children, have drowned in the Mediterranean when the vessel in which they were sailing to Greece capsized, Turkish media reported.
About 40 migrants had set sail early Monday from Edremit, Turkey, toward Lesbos, Greece, when their boat capsized about two miles offshore. The Turkish Coast Guard recovered 27 bodies, including those of 11 children.
Already this year, 374 people have died or are missing, as of February 5, while crossing the Mediterranean, according to data compiled by the International Organization for Migration (IOM). Additionally, IOM notes, 74,676 people arrived in Italy and Greece between January 1 and February 5 to seek asylum in Europe. The number is a significant increase from the same period last year when 11,834 arrived in the two countries (though 428 people died in that period).
Although the asylum-seekers are coming from a variety of countries, including Afghanistan, Iraq, and parts of Africa, most are fleeing the civil war in Syria. That conflict, which has now lasted almost five years, pits the government of Bashar al-Assad against a coalition of rebel groups as well as ISIS and other Islamist terrorist groups. Assad is backed by Russia, Iran, and Hezbollah, the Shia milita organization from Lebanon. The rebels are backed by the West, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, and others. Both sides are also fighting ISIS.