World

Scuffles, a near-sinking as desperate migrants leave Turkey for Greece on smugglers' boats

  • Migrants from the coastal town of Bodrum, Turkey, make their way to the Greek island of Kos, on Saturday, Aug. 15, 2015. With the shores of Kos, a gateway to Europe, just a few kilometers (miles) away from Bodrum, hundreds of migrants are piling into tiny inflatable dinghies each night and attempting to make the crossing powered by tiny outboard motors and plastic paddles. (AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis)

    Migrants from the coastal town of Bodrum, Turkey, make their way to the Greek island of Kos, on Saturday, Aug. 15, 2015. With the shores of Kos, a gateway to Europe, just a few kilometers (miles) away from Bodrum, hundreds of migrants are piling into tiny inflatable dinghies each night and attempting to make the crossing powered by tiny outboard motors and plastic paddles. (AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis)  (The Associated Press)

  • Migrants speak to each other as they and others gather at a makeshift migrant detention center at an abandoned football stadium after crossing from Turkey, on the southeastern island of Kos, Greece, Friday, Aug. 14, 2015. On Friday, the International Organization for Migration said the number of migrants and asylum-seekers who have crossed the Mediterranean to Europe this year will pass the quarter-million mark by the end of the month — more than half of them arriving in Greece. (AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko)

    Migrants speak to each other as they and others gather at a makeshift migrant detention center at an abandoned football stadium after crossing from Turkey, on the southeastern island of Kos, Greece, Friday, Aug. 14, 2015. On Friday, the International Organization for Migration said the number of migrants and asylum-seekers who have crossed the Mediterranean to Europe this year will pass the quarter-million mark by the end of the month — more than half of them arriving in Greece. (AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko)  (The Associated Press)

  • A woman with her child rests at a tent camp as other migrants gather at a makeshift migrant detention center at Kos' abandoned football stadium after crossing from Turkey, at the southeastern island of Kos, Greece, Friday, Aug. 14, 2015. On Friday, the International Organization for Migration said the number of migrants and asylum-seekers who have crossed the Mediterranean to Europe this year will pass the quarter-million mark by the end of the month — more than half of them arriving in Greece. (AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko)

    A woman with her child rests at a tent camp as other migrants gather at a makeshift migrant detention center at Kos' abandoned football stadium after crossing from Turkey, at the southeastern island of Kos, Greece, Friday, Aug. 14, 2015. On Friday, the International Organization for Migration said the number of migrants and asylum-seekers who have crossed the Mediterranean to Europe this year will pass the quarter-million mark by the end of the month — more than half of them arriving in Greece. (AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko)  (The Associated Press)

Migrants on a Turkish beach scuffled over places on one inflatable dinghy and used plastic paddles as bailers to keep another from sinking during a dramatic night that highlighted their desperation to reach the Greek island of Kos — and the safety of Europe.

The scenes of human trafficking, captured early Saturday by Associated Press journalists on a moonless night, came as Turkish authorities reported that 2,791 migrants have been caught in the Aegean Sea in the past 5 days alone, most of them Syrians.

Kos is only 4 kilometers (2.5 miles) from Turkey at its closest point, its twinkling lights at night an irresistible beacon to those fleeing war or poverty.