CESME, Turkey - The Turkish coastguard on Tuesday rescued 330 Syrians adrift in the Aegean Sea after failing to reach Greece, as the number of migrants attempting the treacherous passage to Europe surges.
Members of the group said they had been travelling on eight small boats. They included dozens of children, at least five of them newborn, and women, some of whom were visibly pregnant.
"We are told Europe will welcome us, but the door is closed in our face," said Abdul, 23, from Damascus. "We will try again every day to reach Greece."
Several of the refugees said their boat had been stopped by armed Greek coastguard officers who ordered them to dump fuel, stranding them at sea.
A spokesman for the Greek coastguard, Nikolaos Lagadianos, said it "categorically denied" the allegations, saying an incident had taken place off the Turkish town of Bodrum, further south, but that the Greek authorities had not been involved.