Eighteen people, including 10 children, died on Friday, 18 December, after a boat carrying migrants trying to sail to Greek islands, sank off the southern Turkish town of Bodrum.

The report said fishermen alerted the Turkish coast guard when they heard screaming after the migrants' wooden boat capsized around 3.5km off the coast of Turkey. The migrants were reported to be from Iraq, Pakistan and Syria. Fourteen people were rescued and taken to hospital, many in a serious condition, the agency said.

Nearly 600 people have died this year on the so-called eastern Mediterranean sea route for migrants, according to the International Organisation for Migration.

A record 500,000 refugees from the four-year-old civil war in Syria have travelled through Turkey and then risked their lives at sea to reach Greek islands in 2015, their first stop in the European Union before continuing north.

Despite the winter conditions and rougher seas, the exodus has continued, albeit at a slower pace.

Turkey struck a deal with the European Union on 29 November pledging to help stem the flow of migrants into Europe in return for €3bn euros of cash for the 2.2 million Syrians Ankara has been hosting, visas and renewed talks on joining the 28-nation bloc.