TURKEY

Turkish Coast Guard rescues 43 migrants in Aegean Sea

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The Turkish Coast Guard rescued some 43 irregular migrants attempting to illegally cross to Europe after their boat went adrift in the Aegean, security sources said on Wednesday.

Coast guard squads rescued the Afghan, Iranian, Pakistani migrants off the coast of the northwestern Edirne province after learning an inflatable boat with children aboard was in trouble.

All the migrants were referred to the provincial migration office after health checks, said the sources, who asked not to be named due to restrictions on speaking to the media.

Separately, a group of 51 irregular migrants trying to illegally cross to Greece were held in western Turkey when their boat ran aground, also according to anonymous sources.

The boat in the Çanakkale province had been trying to cross the Aegean to Lesbos island, said the sources.

Acting on a tip, gendarmerie teams on the coast of the Ezine district noticed a boat flying a Russian flag had run aground, said the sources.

The gendarmerie held the migrants, of Afghan, Iraqi and Syrian origin, and arrested two Ukrainians and three Russians on suspicion of human trafficking.

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

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