UPDATE – 12 rescued after migrant boat capsizes off Turkey

ADDS COAST GUARD STATEMENT, DETAILS

By Dervis Comez

MERSIN, Turkey (AA) – Eleven Syrians and a Turkish citizen were rescued after their boat capsized off Erdemli district in Turkey's Mersin province, the Turkish Coast Guard said early Wednesday.

The migrants were rushed to local hospitals and are in good condition while search operations are continuing in the area to ensure there are no others missing, the Coast Guard Command said in a statement.

The Turkish citizen, who is suspected of being a migrant smuggler, was arrested by security forces, it added.

The discovery came after nearby fishermen saw a boat carrying irregular migrants sinking.

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

Of the migrants held in 2017 in Turkey, the majority came from Pakistan, totaling around 15,000, followed by around 12,000 Afghans and about 10,000 Syrians. A 60 percent increase in migrant flow has been seen since 2016, when the number totaled 31,000.

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