TURKEY

Turkish gendarmes detain over 600 migrants

TURKISH GENDARMES DETAIN OVER 600 MIGRANTS

Turkish security forces detained at least 645 foreign nationals over the past week as they tried to cross into Europe illegally from western Turkey's Izmir province.

The detentions came as part of operations targeting illegal crossings from Turkish provinces into European states by sea.

Between July 24 and 31, teams from Izmir's regional gendarmerie command conducted over 10 operations, according to sources in the security forces.

The vast majority of those detained -- over 500 -- were Syrian nationals, while the rest included people from Afghanistan, Somalia, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Pakistan and Iraq.

Turkish security forces also seized two buses, four minibuses, one inflatable boat and dozens of life vests.

Turkey and the EU signed a refugee deal in March 2016, which aimed to discourage irregular migration through the Aegean Sea by taking stricter measures against human traffickers and improving the conditions of nearly three million Syrian refugees in Turkey.

Since then, the number of refugees caught crossing the Aegean Sea between Turkey and Greece has fallen by 85 percent, according to the Turkish Coast Guard.

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