198 undocumented migrants apprehended across Turkey in a single day

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AFP PHOTO

One hundred ninety-eight undocumented migrants were apprehended across Turkey on Thursday, the state-run Anadolu agency reported, citing security sources.

Sixty-three of the migrants were rounded up in the Ezine district of northwestern Çanakkale province on Thursday as they attempted to illegally cross to the Greek island of Lesbos, said security sources who asked not to be named due to media restrictions.

Also on Thursday another 30 migrants including 13 children on an inflatable boat were stopped by coastguard teams off the Kuşadası district of western Aydın province.

The migrants — the majority of them Syrian nationals — were planning to leave Turkey for Europe, security sources said.

One hundred five undocumented migrants — including Afghan, Pakistani and Bangladeshi nationals – were apprehended in the Çaldıran district of eastern Van province on Thursday after illegally entering Turkey, according to a statement by the provincial gendarmerie command.

All the migrants were referred to provincial migration authorities.

Turkey has been the main route for refugees trying to cross into Europe, especially since the start of Syria’s civil war in 2011.

Among the migrants held last year in Turkey, the majority came from Pakistan — around 15,000 — followed by Afghans at around 12,000. Syrians totaled 10,000.

In March 2016 the EU and Turkey reached an agreement to stop irregular migration through the Aegean Sea and improve the conditions of more than 3 million Syrian refugees in Turkey.

European Union leaders last Friday agreed to release the second €3 billion ($3.72 billion) tranche in assistance for Syrian refugees in Turkey.

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