Around 150 irregular migrants held in Turkey

Migrants were rounded up in northwestern, western provinces

Can Erözden   | 12.12.2018
Around 150 irregular migrants held in Turkey


By Cihan Demirci, Ufuk Ertop, Mehmet Yavas, Suat Salgin and Goksel Kayseri

EDIRNE, Turkey

Turkish security forces on Wednesday held a total of 149 irregular migrants, security sources said.

Turkish gendarmes rounded up 22 irregular migrants in northwestern province of Edirne, said a source on condition of anonymity due to restrictions on speaking to the media.

The migrants, Pakistani and Bangladeshi nationals, were held in a vehicle. The driver of the vehicle was also arrested.

In another northwestern province of Kirklareli, 12 irregular migrants from Afghanistan and Pakistan were held by gendarmes, another source said, adding a person, who is believed to be the organizer of the human smuggling, was arrested.

In western province of Canakkale, 56 irregular migrants from Afghanistan and Chad were held by gendarmes as they were trying to reach Lesbos island of Greece. A suspect believed to be the organizer of the human smuggling was also arrested.

The gendarmes also seized a boat, air pump and 15 life jackets during the operation.

In western province of Izmir, Turkish police held 46 irregular migrants from Afghanistan, Iran, Mali and Eritrea in a minibus. A person, identified by the initials N.G. and believed to be an organizer of the human smuggling, was also arrested in the operation.

In the other western province of Balikesir, Turkish Coast Guard saved 13 irregular migrants -- including two minors -- from Afghanistan after they were stranded in the Aegean Sea.

The migrants were heading to Lesbos island but their boat's engine broke down. The migrants on board called Turkish Coast Guard for help.

Turkey has been a main route for irregular migrants trying to cross into Europe, especially since 2011, when the Syrian civil war began.

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