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Italian coast guard rescues 194 Syrian migrants

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The Italian coast guard said Saturday that it rescued 194 Syrian migrants whose boat ran into difficulty on the way from Turkey to Italy.

The migrants were rescued Friday from a 30-metre merchant vessel that was taking in water and was at risk of sinking, some 240 kilometres from the Italian shore.

The coast guard said it was asked to intervene by Greek authorities. A vessel from the European Union’s sea border mission Triton also took part in the operations.

The migrants – including 23 women, two of who were pregnant, and 38 children – were expected to disembark at the Sicilian port of Catania later Saturday.

Italian authorities said the incident was part of a “worrying trend,” as they reported that in the past weeks they had to intervene about a dozen times to rescue migrants from overloaded merchant ships of dubious seaworthiness. SAPA

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