Over 140 irregular migrants held across Turkey

At least 142 irregular migrants were held across Turkey, security sources said on Wednesday.

In the northwestern Edirne province -- bordering Bulgaria and Greece -- gendarmerie forces held six irregular migrants preparing to illegally cross to Greece, said a security source, who asked not to be named due to restrictions on speaking to the media.

In another operation, 39 Afghan migrants were held in a rubber boat en route to Greece by the Turkish Coast Guard in Ayvacik district of the northwestern province of Canakkale.

Separately, in the eastern province of Van, bordering Iran, gendarmerie forces caught in a bus 50 migrants who entered Turkey illegally, including 29 Afghan, 14 Pakistani and one South African national.

Police detained two people during the operation.

Meanwhile, the security forces in Baskale district of Van also caught six Afghan nationals who illegally crossed in Turkey.

In another northwestern province, Tekirdag, 36 irregular migrants were held by gendarmerie forces while preparing to cross overseas illegally.

Some 29 Pakistanis, six Afghans and one Uzbek national were held by the security forces after police stopped three vehicles on a highway between Istanbul and Tekirdag provinces.

Four alleged human smugglers were detained in operation.

Separately, some 11 irregular migrants -- two Pakistani and nine Bangladeshi nationals -- were held in the Suleymanpasa district of Tekirdag by gendarmerie forces who stopped a suspicious vehicle.

The driver, whose identity was not revealed, was detained by police.

All migrants were later referred to provincial migration directorates.

Turkey has been the main route for refugees trying to cross to Europe, especially since 2011, when the Syrian civil war began.

Some 265,000 irregular migrants were held in Turkey in 2018, according to the Interior Ministry.

The irregular migrants were mostly Afghan, Pakistani, Syrian, and Iraqi nationals.

Source: Anadolu Agency