By Salih Baran
ANKARA, Turkey (AA) - At least 1,030 irregular migrants were held across Turkey on Thursday, according to multiple security sources.
Some 831 irregular migrants -- Afghan, Pakistani, Algerian, South African, Somalis, Bangladeshi, Persian, Iraqi, Palestinian, Moroccan, Eritrean, Guinean, Egyptian, and Syrian nationals who had entered Turkey illegally -- were held by gendarmerie forces in the northwestern Edirne province, a source said on condition of anonymity due to restrictions on speaking to the media.
Separately, 44 Afghan and Pakistani nationals in the province including 10 children and five women in a rubber boat were held by the coast guard.
The coast guard also held 74 irregular migrants who were in a rubber boat in the Aegean province of Izmir. The migrants, who were trying to illegally cross from Ayvacik to Greece, were Afghan nationals.
The coast guard held 52 irregular migrants in the Aegean Aydin province, including 34 migrants in a rubber boat, while the rest were held after being captured by drones in Didim in the province.
In another operation, gendarmerie forces held 67 irregular migrants trying to illegally cross to Greece in Seferihisar and Foca in the Aegean Izmir province.
Also, six Afghan national migrants in a car were held by gendarmerie forces in the eastern Kars province.
All the migrants were later referred to provincial migration directorates.
Turkey has been the main route for refugees trying to cross to Europe, especially since the beginning of the civil war in Syria.
Some 268,000 irregular migrants were held in Turkey in 2018, according to the Interior Ministry.
* Writing by Burak Bir