Turkey detains migrants in sweep

2015-11-30 22:27
Migrants are stopped by police after the group broke out from a collection point. (Csaba Segesvari, AFP)

Migrants are stopped by police after the group broke out from a collection point. (Csaba Segesvari, AFP)

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Ankara - Authorities in northwest Turkey on Monday rounded up some 1 300 asylum seekers and migrants allegedly preparing to make their way into Greece, Turkey's state-run news agency reported.

Around 750 migrants were detained in a pre-dawn sweep in the town of Ayvacik, in Canakkale province, which is a main crossing point to the Greek island of Lesbos, the Anadolu Agency reported. By the afternoon, authorities had detained 550 more people, some of whom were trying to hide in olive groves.

The move came a day after Turkey and EU leaders sealed a joint summit with a commitment to re-energize Turkey's long-stalled membership bid and bolster their resolve to deal with the Syrian refugee crisis.

It was not clear if the Monday's sweep was directly related to the Turkish commitment to help contain the flow of migrants and officials could not immediately be reached for comment.

Anadolu said the migrants were from Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan and Syria.

Four suspected smugglers were also detained in the sweep while four migrant boats and six boat motors were seized.

The migrants were put into buses and taken to a small, overcrowded detention centre for foreigners awaiting deportation, the private Dogan news agency said.

During the sweep, authorities also discovered a body which had washed up on the shore, suspected to be that of a migrant.

Read more on:    turkey  |  syria  |  migrants

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