Turkish Coast Guard rescues 12 migrants in Aegean Sea
The Turkish Coast Guard rescued some 12 irregular migrants attempting to illegally cross to Europe after their boat went adrift in the Aegean Sea, security sources said on Thursday.
One migrant drowned during their journey, off the Mugla province’s Aegean coast, added the source, who asked not to be named due to restrictions on speaking to the media.
Separately, in the northwestern Balikesir province, some 17 irregular migrants were held by the police.
They were reportedly preparing to crossing the Aegean to reach Greece.
Separately, some 50 irregular migrants who entered Turkey illegally -- 37 from Afghanistan and 13 from Pakistan -- were held in the eastern Van province early Thursday.
In another operation in the same province, gendarmerie forces held 221 irregular migrants who entered Turkey illegally.
Security forces arrested three alleged human smugglers.
In the southern Hatay province, border forces held 85 migrants who had crossed illegally from neighboring Syria.
Two people were arrested for alleged human smuggling in the operation.
All the migrants were later referred to provincial migration directorates.
Turkey has been the main route for refugees trying to cross to Europe, especially since 2011, the beginning of the Syrian civil war.
Some 268,000 irregular migrants were held in Turkey in 2018, according to the Interior Ministry.
The migrants were mostly Afghan, Pakistani, Syrian and Iraqi nationals.