Turkish coastguard units rescued Thursday three irregular migrants trying to reach the Greek islands off the coasts of western Turkey's Muğla province.
The units sprang to action after one of the migrants requested for help via call center due to a failure in the jet-ski they used to set sail off from Yalıkavak neighborhood of Bodrum district.
The illegal migrants, identified as Palestinian nationals, were rescued when they were about to drown in the Aegean as their jet-ski overturned.
The migrants were transferred to the provincial migration office after the necessary health controls were made.
Meanwhile, Turkish security forces have captured Wednesday some 41 illegal migrants, including women and children, in Didim district of western Aydın province after detecting their location with the help of a helicopter from above.
Turkish coastguard helicopter footage. (DHA Photo)
Some 38 of the illegal migrants were identified as Syrian nationals while two of them were Palestinians and a one was an Iraqi national.
Turkey has been among the main routes for irregular migrants trying to cross to Europe in recent years. Some 265,000 irregular migrants were held in Turkey in 2018, according to the Interior Ministry.
Turkey and the European Union signed a deal in 2016 to curb illegal immigration through the dangerous Aegean Sea route from the Turkish mainland to Greek islands. Under the deal, Greece sends back migrants held on Aegean islands after they crossed over from nearby Turkish shores, and in return, EU countries receive a number of Syrian migrants legally.
The deal, reinforced with an escalated crackdown on human smugglers and more patrols in the Aegean, significantly decreased the number of illegal crossings. However, some desperate migrants still take the route, especially in winter months when a safe journey through the Aegean is nearly impossible aboard dinghies.
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