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More than 200 irregular migrants held in western Turkey

No less than 204 irregular migrants were held in western Turkey, security sources said Monday.

The Turkish Coast Guard nabbed 48 Afghan migrants from a rubber boat in Dikili in the Aegean Izmir province, said a security source who asked not to be named due to restrictions on speaking to the media.

In a separate operation in the same province, 70 migrants were caught by gendarmerie forces while preparing to depart Turkey for Greece off the coast of Menderes.

Security forces arrested three human smugglers.

Separately, 41 irregular migrants were held from a boat off the coast of Didim in Aydin province.

An hour later, The Turkish Coast Guard held a second boat with 45 migrants.

All the migrants were referred to provincial migration authorities.

Turkey has been a main route for irregular migrants trying to cross to Europe, especially since 2011, the start of the Syrian civil war.

More than 265,000 irregular migrants were held in Turkey in 2018, according to the Interior Ministry.