Over 150 illegal migrants captured in anti-trafficking operations across Turkey

DAILY SABAH WITH AA
ISTANBUL
Published 17.10.2017 17:25

Over 150 illegal migrants were captured during separate anti-trafficking operations in four different provinces on Tuesday, officials said.

In the Aegean province of Izmir, 53 migrants were held as they attempted to reach Greek islands, a source, who spoke on condition of anonymity due to restrictions on talking to the media, told media outlets.

The group which consisted mainly of Afghan and Syrian nationals were on a boat off Izmir's Dikili district when coast guards apprehended them, the source said.

In northwestern Edirne province, 24 others were captured after security personnel stopped a minivan full of Pakistani migrants.

A local court later remanded in custody the minivan driver for trafficking.

In another operation in western Balıkesir's Ayvalık district, 56 Syrian refugees, including 20 children, were captured. The illegal migrants were on a boat set for Greek islands, the regional governor's office said in a statement.

Also, in southern Hatay province's Kırıkhan district, 36 migrants who illegally crossed to Turkey from Iraq and Syria were apprehended.

They were found in a minivan, whose driver was arrested over human trafficking charges.

All of the illegal migrants were sent to regional immigration departments for necessary registration procedures.

Over the past year, thousands of people have made the short but dangerous attempt to cross 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 including Çanakkale, Balıkesir, Muğla, Aydın and Izmir are the regions most frequently used by refugees leaving Turkey for the EU.

An 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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