Over 300 migrants held in Turkey

Arrests take place during operation in three different provinces

Over 300 migrants held in Turkey


By Gazi Nogay

CORUM, Turkey

Turkish police captured more than 300 migrants during operations across three provinces Tuesday, according to security officials.

In the Osmancik district of Turkey's central Corum province, police arrested 250 migrants, who fled the truck they were transported in.

The police signaled the driver of the truck to stop. The driver ran away leaving the truck on one side of the highway.

Amongst the 250 migrants were nationals of Georgia, Pakistan, Azerbaijan and Afghanistan, according to a local security official, who spoke on condition of anonymity due to restrictions on talking to the media.

The migrants, including more than 50 children and 11 women, were trying to reach Europe, the official said. Among them was a pregnant woman, who was taken to the hospital.

The migrants told police that there were around 300 people in the truck. Search for the remaining 50 people and the driver of the truck continued.

In eastern Erzurum province, Turkish security forces captured 36 suspects, who illegally crossed into the country from Iran.

Amongst the suspects were Pakistani and Afghan nationals, another security official said.

In another operation in northwestern Edirne province, the gendarmerie caught 30 migrants, including Pakistani and Syrian nationals, who were trying to reach Greece in a minivan.

Turkey and the EU signed a refugee deal in March 2016, which aimed to discourage irregular migration through the Aegean Sea by taking stricter measures against human traffickers and improving the conditions of nearly three million Syrian refugees in Turkey.

Since then, the number of refugees caught crossing the Aegean Sea between Turkey and Greece has fallen by 85 percent, according to the Turkish Coast Guard.

* Emrah Akilli from Edirne and Yunus Okur from Erzurum contributed to this story

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