At least 173 irregular migrants were held in three districts in Turkey's western Izmir province, security sources said Saturday.
According to local security forces, the migrants were spotted in dinghies off the coast of the Aegean Sea by coast guards.
64 migrants, including 58 Afghans and six Syrians, were held off the coast of the Süngükaya Island in Izmir's Çeşme district.
Another 41 were held off the coast of Karaada. Of them, 21 were from Afghanistan, 17 from Syria and another three from Iran.
One more boat with 68 irregular migrants on board was captured by security forces off the coast of the Seferihisar district. The group consisted of 42 Afghans, 23 Syrians, one Palestinian, one Algerian and one Kuwaiti.
The migrants were taken to the provincial migration office.
In 2018, some 268,000 irregular migrants were held in Turkey, according to the Interior Ministry. Turkey has been a key transit point for irregular migrants aiming to cross into Europe to start new lives, especially those fleeing war and persecution.
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