273 illegal migrants caught off western Turkey

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ISTANBUL, Nov. 8 (Xinhua) -- The Turkish coast guard has captured a total of 273 illegal migrants who tried to sneak into Greek islands from Turkey's Aegean coast in the last three days, the force announced on Friday.

On Thursday and early Friday, the coast guard teams stopped 53 irregular migrants, including 30 Palestinians, 11 Afghans, six Syrians, five Yemenis and one Iraqi, in operations carried out near the districts of Bodrum and Datca in the southwestern province of Mugla.

The illegal migrants were attempting to reach Greek islands by inflatable boats, the coast guard said on its website.

Another 111 illegal migrants were caught in three operations on the same days near the Didim district in the southwestern province of Aydin, among them are 58 Syrians, 36 Somalians, nine Palestinians, four South Africans, one Ethiopian, one Yemeni, one Iraqi and an Egyptian.

In addition, a total of 109 illegal migrants were seized near the provinces of Izmir and Aydin in separate operations on Wednesday, the coast guard said.

The Aegean Sea was once the main route for migrants trying to reach Europe via Turkey. A deal signed between Turkey and the European Union in March 2016 has curbed the flow of illegal immigration.

Since this year, a total of 51,488 migrants have attempted to reach Greece via Turkey, up from 25,398 over the same period in 2018, according to the latest figures released by the Turkish coast guard. Enditem

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