Turkey seizes 203 illegal migrants heading for Greek islands
The Turkish coast guard has apprehended 203 illegal migrants in the last 24 hours along the Aegean shore, as they were attempting to sneak into Greek islands, the force said on Friday.
Thirty-nine migrants, including children and babies, were seized on a small inflatable boat off the Bodrum district in Turkey's southwestern province of Mugla, while 53 Syrians were detained off the provinces of Aydin and Canakkale.
On land, 111 illegal migrants preparing to head for Greek islands via sea routes were caught in three locations in Izmir, the coast guard said in a statement posted on its website.
During the operations, five human traffickers were detained as well, the force said.
A total of 4,451 migrants have attempted to reach the Greek islands via Turkey this year, up from 3,781 over the same period in 2017, according to figures released by the Turkish coast guard.
A deal was signed between Turkey and the European Union in March 2016 to curb the flow of illegal migration through the Aegean Sea, a favored route for migrants trying to reach Europe.