Turkey

At least 108 irregular migrants held across Turkey

Migrants held in northwestern Kirklareli, Edirne and Canakkale provinces

19.01.2019
At least 108 irregular migrants held across Turkey

By Ozgun Tiran, Burak Akay and Cihan Demirci

KIRKLARELI / CANAKKALE / EDIRNE, Turkey

At least 108 irregular migrants were held across Turkey, security sources said on Saturday.

In the northwestern province of Kirklareli, gendarmerie forces received a tip that three groups of migrants were preparing to illegally cross to Bulgaria, said a security source who asked not to be named due to restrictions on speaking to the media. 

A total of 23 migrants -- Iraq and Afghan nationals -- were caught in Demirkoy near the Derekoy border gate, a security source added.

In a separate operation in the northwestern Canakkale province, the Turkish Coast Guard rounded up 43 irregular migrants in a boat, off the coast of Ayvacik.

The Afghan-origin migrants were reportedly trying to cross to Greece.

In Turkey's northwestern Edirne province, the security forces held 14 irregular migrants of Syrian origin after stopping a suspicious vehicle in the Uzunkopru district.

In another operation in the same province, 28 irregular migrants were detained in a vehicle in Kesan district during patrol conducted by gendarmerie forces.

The migrants are of Palestinian, Syrian and Lebanese nationals. Three people were arrested for alleged human smuggling.

All of the migrants were referred to provincial migration directorates.

In recent years Turkey has been a main route for irregular migrants trying to cross to Europe, especially since 2011, the start of the Syrian civil war .

Over 265,000 irregular migrants were held in Turkey in 2018, according to the Interior Ministry.

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