Kos, Greek - The body of a 16-year-old Syrian boy smuggled from Turkey has been found at the foot of a cliff on the Greek island of Kos, a Red Cross official told AFP on Sunday.
“His boat landed in a dangerous area of Kos,” by a cliff, the official said.
“He was travelling with a group, but because he was overweight and exhausted, he couldn't make the climb and was left behind.”
It is unclear how long the boy was dead for, but he was only reported missing when his brother came from Sweden to find him and alerted the UN refugee agency.
“We launched a search and rescue operation and found his body on the beach on Saturday,” the Red Cross official said.
“The brother is a recognised refugee in Sweden, and their mother is still back in Syria. She was obviously devastated when she learned the news,” UNHCR spokeswoman Stella Nanou said.
“This is a tragedy that highlights the need for better family reunification processes. This boy was a minor. Had there been proper family reunification processes in place, this would not have happened,” she told AFP.
Greek media also reported the tragedy.
About 7 000 men, women and children - mostly fleeing war in Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan - were stuck on the eastern Aegean island earlier this week, leading to chaotic scenes with police trying to process them.
But since then around 3 000 have been allowed to travel on to Athens after the immigration service sent reinforcements to the island, Kos mayor Giorgos Kiritsis told AFP.
He said about 4 000 migrants remained on the holiday island, although police put the number at 2 500.