Turkish security forces captured Thursday a total of 226 illegal migrants during operations in several provinces, officials said.
In northwestern Edirne province, security forces captured 109 unregistered migrants who were trying to illegally reach Greece and Bulgaria, a security official, who asked not to be named due to restrictions on talking to the media, told Anadolu Agency.
The migrants were identified as Pakistani, Syrian, Afghan, and Iranian nationals, the source added.
Later on Thursday, security forces also captured 14 illegal migrants in Edirne’s Ipsala district, another security source said.
Security units found the migrants, who were of Pakistani origin, when they stopped a suspicious minivan during traffic control.
In western Aydın’s Söke district, police captured 40 migrants who were being transported by truck, another security official said.
The driver fled by foot, leaving the truck on the side of the highway after seeing a police checkpoint.
The truck was driving from Istanbul to Didim district, to cross into Greece, the official said, adding the search for the driver continued.
In another operation in Ayvacık district of northwestern Çanakkale province, 38 illegal migrants were spotted as they were trying to illegally get to the Greek island of Lesbos.
During the operation, migrants from Syria and Iraq were captured, including women and children, a security source said.
Security forces also seized one boat and one boat motor, the source added.
Separately, in Kırıkhan district of southern Hatay province, 25 migrants from Syria, including 10 children, were captured after receiving a tipoff.
Turkey’s five Aegean provinces including Çanakkale, Balıkesir, Muğla, Aydın and Izmir are the regions most frequently used by refugees leaving Turkey for the EU.
The EU-Turkey agreement reached on March 20, 2016 allows for the return of “irregular migrants” to Turkey from Greece in exchange for Syrian refugees’ relocation from Turkey to within the EU bloc.
Since then, the number of refugees detained crossing the Aegean Sea between Turkey and Greece has fallen 85 percent, according to the Turkish Coast Guard.