LOCAL NEWS

More than 400 undocumented migrants held across Turkey

Anti-human trafficking operations carried out in Balıkesir, Edirne, and Muğla provinces

News Service AA

At least 442 migrants were held during anti-human trafficking operations across Turkey on Monday, according to security sources.

In the northwestern Balikesir province's Ayvalik district, 39 Syrians, including 16 children, were held when they attempted to reach Greek islands, the Turkish Coast Guard Command said in a statement.

The coast guard held 60 more Syrians, including 27 children, from a boat off the Altınova district, it said.

A suspected human trafficker was also arrested.

In the northwestern Edirne province, security forces held 232 migrants from Afghanistan, Pakistan, India, Syria, Iraq, Algeria, Palestine, Nepal, and Bangladesh.

They were reportedly trying to reach Europe through illegal routes. In the Aegean Mugla province's Bodrum district, 22 Syrians were held, while in the Mediterranean Fethiye district the coast guard stopped a boatful of 23 people from Syria and Palestine.

Three human traffickers were also arrested during Mugla operations and later sent to a local court.

An additional of 66 people, including Pakistan, Afghanistan and Senegal nationals, were held in the eastern Turkish province of Elazig, a source from Turkey's gendarmerie forces told Anadolu Agency.

The undocumented migrants were taken to a gendarmerie checkpost in the Kovancilar district after illegally entering from Iran, said the source, who asked not to be named due to restrictions on speaking to the media.

All the migrants held were sent to regional immigration departments.

In recent years, hundreds of thousands of people have made the short but perilous journey across the Aegean to reach northern and western Europe.

Nearly 2,000 refugees per month cross to Greek islands, according to the UNHCR data.

Hundreds of people have died at sea as a number of boats carrying refugees sank. The Turkish Coast Guard has rescued thousands.

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