Turkey prevents 1,271 illegal border crossings

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A total of 1,271 undocumented migrants have been held across Turkey for trying to cross the border illegally, most of them trying to cross from Syria into Turkey, the military said Thursday.

In a statement, the Turkish General Staff said 1,205 people were held Wednesday while trying to cross into Turkey from Syria.

Border forces also detained 56 others while attempting to illegally enter Greece on Wednesday, it added.

Additionally, four people were held trying to enter Turkey from the Iraqi border and six were held trying to enter Bulgaria.

Last year, Turkey tightened its security measures along the Syrian frontier, building a 731-kilometer (454-mile) wall to combat smuggling and illegal border crossings.

Meanwhile, a security source on Thursday, who spoke on condition of anonymity due to restrictions on talking to the media, said that 668 undocumented migrants — most of them Syrians — were held in 21 operations in the Aegean Izmir province on April 6-11.

Separately, in Muradiye in the eastern Van province, 12 undocumented migrants were held on Thursday, a security source said.

Among the undocumented migrants were five Afghans, six Myanmarese, and one Pakistani.

Turkey has been a main route for refugees trying to cross into Europe, especially since the beginning of the civil war in Syria.

Among migrants held in 2017 in Turkey, the majority came from Pakistan — around 15,000 — followed by around 12,000 Afghans, and some 10,000 Syrians.

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