UPDATE – Over 320 irregular migrants held in Turkey


By Ibrahim Yaldiz, Mehmet Toktas and Cihan Demirci

MUS/HATAY, Turkey (AA) – At least 323 irregular migrants were held across Turkey, security sources said on Friday.

The sources, who asked not to be named due to restrictions on speaking to the media, said 86 migrants were held in the eastern Mus province, the local governor's office said in a statement.

The migrants included 74 Afghans and 12 Pakistanis.

One suspect was also detained on charges of human smuggling, the statement said.

Separately, 48 Syrian nationals were rounded up in southern Hatay province while attempting to illegally cross into Turkey, according to provincial gendarmerie sources.

In northwestern Edirne province's Adasarhanli village, the gendarmerie units rounded up eight migrants of Bangladeshi and Pakistani nationals in a vehicle while they were preparing to illegally cross the Turkish border.

The driver of the vehicle was arrested over charges of human smuggling.

In Bosnakoy, Ipsala and Meric districts of Edirne, the gendarmes rounded up 181 more migrants during routine patrols.

The irregular migrants included Pakistani, Afghan, Bangladeshi and Palestinian nationals.

All the migrants were later referred to provincial migration authorities.

Turkey has been a main route for refugees trying to cross into Europe, especially since 2011, the beginning of Syria's civil war.

Among migrants held in 2017 in Turkey, the majority came from Pakistan — around 15,000 — followed by Afghans at around 12,000. Syrians totaled about 10,000.