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Migrants Reach Slovenia After Hungary Closes Border


Migrants with children head toward the Hungarian border in Botovo, Croatia, on October 16.

Migrants with children head toward the Hungarian border in Botovo, Croatia, on October 16.

Migrants seeking refuge in Europe have begun reaching Croatia's border with Slovenia after Hungary closed its border with Croatia overnight.

Slovenian police said on October 17 that a busload of migrants reached a border crossing and had been registered.

However, Slovenia has canceled its rail connections with Croatia in a bid to slow down the movement of people from the Balkans to Western Europe.

Hungary's decision to close the border came just hours after the European Union announced an agreement to provide funds and assistance to Turkey in order to slow the flow of refugees from the Syrian conflict.

The international NGO Amnesty International on October 17 criticized that plan as "premised on keeping refugees in Turkey" and called on the EU to "offer safe and legal routes for refugees to reach Europe."

Hungary, like other former Soviet-bloc countries, also opposes an EU plan establishing quotas for accepting some 120,000 migrants.

Slovenia and Croatia said on October 16 that they will keep their borders open to transiting migrants as long as Austria and Germany continue to accept them.

Meanwhile, Turkish officials say 12 would-be migrants have drowned and 25 were rescued after their boat sank off the Turkish coast.

Officials said the boat was travelling on October 17 from the Turkish town of Ayvalik toward the Greek island of Lesbos.

The nationalities of the migrants were not reported.

The Greek coast guard reported that four migrants -- including three children -- died in a separate incident in the Aegean Sea in the early morning hours of October 17.

More than 3,000 refugees have died trying to reach Europe this year, most of them fleeing poverty and violence in Syria, Afghanistan, and Africa.

Based on reporting by Reuters, AP, and AFP
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