Authorities have held at least 224 undocumented migrants in western Turkey, security sources said yesterday.
Turkish coast guards rounded up some 125 undocumented migrants in three different operations off western İzmir's Dikili and Karaburun districts. The migrants were attempting to illegally cross into Greece, sources confirmed. Among the migrants were nationals from Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, Somalia, Gabon, Gambia and Mali.
In a separate operation, coast guards stopped two inflatable boats carrying some 99 undocumented migrants off western Çanakkale's Ayvacık district. They were planning to cross into Greece's Lesbos Island. The migrants were referred to the respective provincial migration offices.
Turkey has been a main route for refugees trying to cross into Europe, especially since 2011 when the Syrian civil war broke out. Among the migrants held in 2017 in Turkey, the majority came from Pakistan - around 15,000 - followed by Afghans at around 12,000. Syrians totaled about 10,000. There has been a 60 percent increase in migrant flow since 2016. The number was 31,000 in 2016.