By Ali Balli
MUGLA, Turkey (AA) – Turkey’s coastguard rescued more than a dozen irregular migrants Friday who were illegally attempting to cross into Europe through the Aegean Sea.
The local coastguard said a rubber boat carrying 15 irregular migrants, including two infants, as well as an alleged human smuggler sank off the coast of southwestern Mugla province.
Four security boats arrived at the scene and rescued them before they went under the waves.
The infants were taken to a hospital due to hypothermia.
Turkey has been a key transit point for irregular migrants aiming to cross into Europe to start new lives, especially those fleeing war and persecution.
The illegal migration trend gained momentum with the unrest in the Middle East, especially since the beginning of the Syrian civil war in 2011.
Some 268,000 irregular migrants were held in Turkey in 2018, according to the Interior Ministry.
*Writing by Busra Nur Bilgic Cakmak