UPDATES HEADLINE; ADDS MIGRANTS
By Mehmet Yavas and Ibrahim Yaldiz
CANAKKALE, Turkey (AA) - Over 400 undocumented migrants were held across Turkey, security sources said on Wednesday.
The migrants, including women and children, were rounded up off the coast of Ayvacik in the Canakkale province, said the sources, who asked not to be named due to restrictions on speaking to the media.
The migrants -- all Afghan nationals -- were illegally attempting to cross to Greece’s Lesbos Island, the sources added.
Another 99 migrants were held in the eastern Mus province, the local governor's office said in a statement.
The migrants -- including 68 Afghans, 18 Bangladeshis and 13 Pakistanis -- who were on board vehicles, were stopped by security forces. Two people were also detained on charges of human smuggling, the statement said.
In the northwestern Edirne province, 269 migrants were rounded up in the villages of Yenikadin, Orhaniye, Bosnakoy, as well as in the Meric, Uzunkopru, and Ipsala districts.
The migrants from Pakistan, Nepal, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Libya, Syria, Algeria, Eritrea, Morocco, Somalia, and Egypt were held during regular patrols by gendarmerie units.
All the migrants were later referred to the provincial migration authorities.
Turkey has been a main route for refugees trying to cross into Europe, especially since 2011, the beginning of Syria's civil war.
Among migrants held in 2017 in Turkey, the majority came from Pakistan -- around 15,000 -- followed by Afghans at around 12,000. Syrians totaled about 10,000.