Over 600 irregular migrants held in Turkey

By Sibel Ugurlu

ANKARA (AA) – At least 624 migrants were held on Saturday across Turkey, according to security sources.

In the northwestern Edirne province, a total of 313 migrants were held during patrols of gendarmerie forces in several districts.

Separately in the northwestern Kirklareli province, security forces held 78 people attempting to illegally cross into Europe.

In a separate operation, in the Dikili district of the western Izmir province, 51 irregular migrants from Iraq, Syria, Nigeria, Ghana and Eritrea were held.

They were spotted in a rubber boat off Dikili and planning to cross to Greece.

A total of 28 Afghan and Palestinian nationals, including women and children, were rounded up in the northwestern province of Canakkale's Ayvacik district.

In the Baskale, Ipekyolu and Ercis districts of the eastern Van province, 147 migrants were held by local gendarmerie forces.

In the Ayvalik district of the northwestern Balikesir province, the gendarmerie units rounded up seven Afghan nationals.

A suspect was also arrested over human smuggling charges.

All of the migrants were referred to provincial migration offices.

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