Category: Pushback and Human Rights Violations
Number of people: 12
On 15 January 2021, relatives who were desperately searching for six men, who had gone missing between Turkey and Greece, call the Alarm Phone. The relatives inform us that two days earlier, on 13 January 2021, these six men started their journey to Europe from Bodrum in a rubber boat, carrying 12 people from Syria, Iraq, and Palestine.
When we managed to reach some of the group, they reported that they lost six persons in the rough sea, when waves washed them overboard. The ones who survived the tragedy landed on Rhodos. When they were found by local authorities, no rescue operation for the six missing people was launched. Instead, the survivors were forced onto life rafts and pushed back into Turkish waters. When talking with the survivors, we can understand that they were close to Alimia, a small island in front of Rhodos, when their engine stopped and six people fell into the sea. The place they arrived and where they found the abandoned house was the fisher-village Skala Kameiros in Rhodos.
A survivor told the Alarm Phone:
The relatives that called the Alarm Phone on 15 January 2021, had called both the Hellenic and the Turkish Coast Guards to understand, if a search operation had already been launched. The Hellenic Coast Guard stated that there was no ongoing case and that they were not aware of people missing - even though they had obviously been with the survivors.
Alarm Phone stayed in contact with relatives of the missing. We also established contact with local fishermen, who started to search the beaches, the weather was still too bad to go out to the sea. “Refugee support Aegean” became involved on a legal level and started to put pressure on Greek authorities to search for the missing. Four of them are still missing.
Yaseen Salih Ahmed Al-Obaidi, from Iraq, born in 1983, drowned. His body was found at a beach on Rhodos. He was buried on Rhodos.
Muhammad Taha Abdullah Suleiman, Palestinian Syrian, drowned. His body was found a few days later, on 24 January in Bakbakkar Bay in Mesudiye Mahallelesi Hayitbükü. It seems like he used all of his energy to swim back to Turkey until he ran out.