Report: Europe's Migrant Arrivals Top 1 Million for 2015
The International Organization for Migration says the number of migrants and refugees entering Europe in 2015 has gone over the one million mark, the largest influx of its kind since the end of World War Two.
The Geneva-based organization issued figures Tuesday showing 1,005,504 migrants from Africa and the Middle East have crossed into the continent by a combination of irregular land and sea routes, a four-fold increase from 2014.
Refugees from Syria, which has been torn apart by a five-year-old civil war that has left over 200,000 people dead and millions more displaced, account for half of all those counted, followed by refugees from two other war-torn countries, Afghanistan and Iraq.
The refugees have streamed into Greece, Bulgaria, Italy, Spain, Malta and Cyprus during 2015, with a huge majority -- over 800,000 -- arriving by sea in Greece. About 3,600 died or disappeared trying to make the perilous Mediterranean Sea crossing between North Africa and Italy.
The IOM says fewer than 35,000 migrants, or about three percent, have crossed by land into Greece and Bulgaria from Turkey.
HRW: Turkey Must Investigate Civilian Deaths
Human Rights Watch said Tuesday that Turkey needs to control its security forces and investigate the deaths of civilians who were killed during police operations and clashes with armed groups in recent months.
The group said it documented 15 such deaths in a limited investigation and that local groups report more than 100 deaths since July.
Turkish forces launched a new offensive in July against the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) in southeastern Turkey, a move that ended a cease-fire of more than two years. President Recep Tayyip Erdogan further pledged in November to continue until every one of the militants was defeated.
Human Rights Watch said the state had put neighborhoods under curfew and cut off people's access to water, electricity and food.
Turkey, the United States and European Union all consider the PKK to be a terror group. The conflict between Turkey and the PKK has left 40,000 people dead since 1984.