A total of 42 illegal migrants, who were planning to cross the Aegean Sea to reach Greece, have been captured by gendarmerie units in the district of Ayvacık in northwestern Çanakkale province.
Gendarmerie units received tipoffs about a group of migrants trying to illegally reach the Greek Island of Lesbos in a dinghy, and subsequently launched an operation on the Yeşil Liman coast of Ayvacık's Behramkale village.
The captured illegal migrants, including women, were later identified as Congolese citizens and were referred to the Ayvacık Repatriation Center after necessary registration procedures were carried out at the Ayvacık Gendarmerie Command.
Two dinghies were also seized during the operation.
Over the past year, thousands of people have made the short but dangerous journey across the Aegean in a bid to reach Greece, before continuing on to northern and western Europe, however, weather conditions in the winter make the trips even more dangerous.
Turkey's five Aegean provinces Çanakkale, Balıkesir, Izmir, Muğla and Aydın are the regions most frequently used by refugees leaving Turkey for the EU.
The EU-Turkey agreement reached on March 20, 2016 allows for the return of "irregular migrants" to Turkey from Greece, in exchange for Syrian refugees' relocation from Turkey to within the EU bloc.
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