A cursory search by the Financial Times revealed several Facebook pages in Arabic offering passage to Europe, many via Libya to Italy, but others from Turkey to Greece. No mention is made of the hundreds who have died in the Mediterranean in recent days; instead they promise a reliable and comfortable journey in a matter of hours.
On a closed Facebook group offering tips to would-be migrants, a Turkey-based Syrian who goes under the pseudonym of Abu Moaz advertises crossings by inflatable boat to Greece. The voyage lasts about an hour-and-a-half and costs $950 per person, he says. Anyone interested can speak to him via the WhatsApp or Viber numbers on the site.
Contacted by the FT, Abu Moaz said he was a sailor, but that work was scarce these days. The boat he uses, a Zodiac with fibreglass flooring, is owned by a group of Turks and Syrians, and leaves from the Turkish coastline somewhere between Bodrum and Izmir. “It is people smuggling, no more and no less,” he said, but insisted that — unlike other smugglers — he travels with the migrants on the boat to ensure they reach their destination.”