The Turkish Coast Guard Command intercepted 2,437 illegal migrants on the Aegean in October, versus 3,425 in September, a drop of 28.8 percent. September saw the highest number in six months, data from its website revealed.

Of the 34,493 refugees intercepted so far this year, there were 5,506 in January, 8,747 in February, 8,530 in March, and 1,717 in April, 1,109 in May, 538 in June, 881 in July, 1,603 in August, and 3,425 in September.

Last year had 73,479 refugees intercepted in the same period, meaning this year’s numbers have already fallen over 47 percent from last year.

The desperate journeys made by migrants and refugees hit their peak last year after some European countries announced they would take in thousands of people.

Turkish Coast Guard data shows that 69 refugees lost their lives in 2014, 279 in 2015, and 174 so far in 2016, mainly through the use of unsafe vessels such as plastic boats.

Over the past year, thousands of people have made short-but-perilous attempts to cross the Aegean in a bid to reach Greece, before going on to northern and western Europe.

The EU-Turkey agreement reached this March allows for the return of “irregular migrants” to Turkey from Greece in exchange for Syrian refugees to be relocated within the EU.

Anadolu Agency