KIRKLARELI / BATMAN, Turkey
At least 97 irregular migrants were held in Turkish border regions, security sources said on Wednesday.
As many as 48 irregular migrants were held in the northwestern Kirklareli province, near the Bulgarian border, said the sources, who asked not to be named due to restrictions on speaking to the media.
Gendarmerie command teams acted on a tip that there were irregular migrants in the forest around the village of Tastape in Kofcaz, and the village of Eskitasli in the Luleburgaz district.
The Syrian and Iraqi nationals held, including children, were taken to the provincial migration office. Three suspects who allegedly organized the journey were also detained.
Separately, 49 more irregular migrants were held in the southeastern Batman province, close to the Syrian border.
Gendarmerie forces found the migrants – including 47 Afghans and two Pakistanis – when they stopped a suspicious minibus in Kozluk.
The minibus driver was also detained.
After routine procedures, the migrants will be taken to the provincial migration office.
Turkey has been a key transit point for asylum seekers aiming to cross into Europe to start new lives, especially those fleeing war and persecution.
*Writing by Seda Sevencan in Istanbul