UPDATE – Over 400 irregular migrants held in Turkey

CHANGES HEADLINE, SPOT, LEDE; UPDATES THROUGHOUT

By Mehmet Toktas and Erdal Turkoglu

HATAY, Turkey (AA) – At least 445 irregular migrants were held across Turkey, security sources said on Thursday.

In southern province of Hatay, security forces held 52 irregular migrants.

Turkish security forces on patrol duty at the Syrian border spotted groups of people who were trying to cross into Turkey illegally in two separate incidents, said the sources who spoke on conditions of anonymity due to restrictions on speaking to the media.

In the first incident, 38 Syrians were held in villages of Guvecci and Aslanyazi and were referred to the Turkish gendarmerie for security check.

The second group of 14 Syrian nationals were held in Altinozu district and were later referred to the police station.

Separately in northwestern Edirne province, a total of 393 migrants including Pakistani, Iraqi, Afghan, Bangladeshi, Somalian, Egyptian, Palestinian and Syrian nationals, were held during gendarmerie patrols in several districts.

All 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.

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