UPDATE – Over 900 irregular migrants held in Turkey

UPDATES WITH MORE MIGRANTS HELD; CHANGES HEADLINE, LEDE

By Merve Aydogan

ANKARA (AA) – At least 903 migrants were held on Monday across Turkey, according to security sources.

In the Baskale and Ercis districts of the eastern Van province, 115 migrants were held by local gendarmerie forces during a regular road patrol.

Separately the local security units and Turkey’s National Intelligence Organization (MIT) have conducted joint operations in the Aegean Izmir province to prevent irregular migration.

The operations saw the arrest of 66 irregular migrants. Among them were 26 Syrian, 18 Afghan, 15 Palestinian, six Central African and an Iranian national.

In Turkey’s northwestern province of Kirklareli, gendarmerie forces launched an operation in line with a tip-off about four groups of migrants who were planning to illegally cross into Bulgaria.

A total of 108 migrants of Pakistani nationality were held during the operation.

In the northwestern Edirne province, a total of 559 migrants including Algerian, Pakistani, Iraqi, Afghan, Bangladeshi, Somalian, Egyptian and Syrian nationals, were held during gendarmerie patrols in several districts.

In the eastern Erzurum province, security units held 55 migrants of Iraqi and Pakistani nationals.

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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