EDİRNE- Anadolu Agency
At least 384 irregular migrants were held across Turkey on May 3, according to multiple security sources.
A total of 309 irregular migrants were held by gendarmerie forces in the northwestern province of Edirne, bordering Greece and Bulgaria, a source said on condition of anonymity due to restrictions on speaking to the media.
In Balıkesir, another northwestern province, 23 irregular migrants in a rubber boat were held by the Turkish Coast Guard.
Additionally, 17 migrants who were preparing to cross to Greece were held by gendarmerie forces in the same province.
Security forces also arrested four alleged human smugglers in operations.
Moreover, 35 irregular migrants were held by the gendarmerie forces in the northwestern Düzce province.
All the migrants were later referred to provincial migration directorates.
On May 4, nine irregular migrants drowned off the Aegean coast of Balıkesir, the Turkish Coast Guard said.
They rescued five irregular migrants during the operation and recovered nine bodies; four women and five children.
Turkey has been the main route for refugees trying to cross to Europe, especially since 2011, the beginning of the Syrian civil war.
Some 268,000 irregular migrants were held in Turkey in 2018, according to the Interior Ministry.