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Turkish Coast Guard pulls 132 from dinghies in Aegean

28th Dec 2017
Turkish Coast Guard pulls 132 from dinghies in Aegean

By Esber Ayaydin

 

IZMIR, Turkey (AA)  Three groups of migrants were saved as they attempted to cross from Turkey to the Greek island of Lesbos, the Turkish Coast Guard said Wednesday.

The 132 migrants from Syria, Angola, Afghanistan, Eritrea, Senegal, Togo and Burkina Faso were pulled from rubber dinghies in the Aegean Sea on Tuesday.

They are believed to have set off from beaches near the town of Dikili, which lies 24 kilometers (15 miles) across the sea from Lesbos.

Turkey has been a major route for people trying to cross into Europe, especially since the start of the civil war in Syria. Until an agreement with the EU came into force in March last year, hundreds drowned while trying to reach Greece from Turkish shores.

On Turkey’s northwest border with Greece, 46 foreigners were prevented from crossing illegally on Wednesday, a security official said.

People from Bangladesh, Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan and Morocco were held in Meric, a district of Edirne province, which is separated from Greek territory by the Meric river.

In one minibus, dinghies and lifejackets were found. The driver was arrested.

Another three suspected people smugglers were arrested in two other incidents in the district.

[Photo:  Turkish Coast Guard helicopters fly over the Aegean Sea within a rescue operation for the refugees stuck in rocks in offshore Dikili district of Izmir, Turkey earlier on December 14, 2017. The refugees, including women and children, were trying to reach Greek Islands when an inflatable boat carrying them got stuck at the small islet near Dikili district of Izmir, according to a statement from the Turkish Coast Guard. Photographer: Cem Öksüz/AA]

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