Turkish security forces arrested 261 undocumented migrants and refugees who were attempting to travel to Europe using illegal routes, security sources said Saturday.
In the western province of Izmir, Turkish border guards held 18 foreign nationals while they were attempting to cross the Aegean Sea on a fiber boat, said a source, who spoke on condition of anonymity due to restrictions on talking to the media.
Sixteen of the undocumented migrants are Syrian nationals while two others are from Somalia, said the source, adding that women and children were on board.
In Dikli district of Izmir, 220 undocumented migrants, mostly Syrians, were held by gendarmerie forces.
They had been left stranded in a van by human traffickers at Kabakum site and they were apprehended at the Bademli and Candarli beaches.
In northwestern Kirklareli province, gendarmerie forces apprehended 23 undocumented migrants and refugees, said another source.
The foreign nationals, including Afghans, Pakistanis, Iranians and Syrians, were preparing to cross the Turkish border into Bulgaria, according to the source.
Following legal proceedings, they were sent to the provincial migration authorities.
Turkey has been the main route for migrants trying to cross into Europe, especially since the beginning of the civil war in Syria.