By Ferdi Uzun, Durmus Genc, Cihan Demirci and Erdal Turkoglu
At least 258 undocumented migrants were held in Mugla, Aydin, Edirne and Hatay provinces when they either tried to reach Europe or attempted to enter Turkey using illegal routes, according to officials Friday.
In an operation against undocumented migrants in southwestern Mugla, Turkish Coast Guard teams held 65 Syrians off Gulluk Bay in Milas district, a source, who asked not to be named due to restrictions on talking to the media, said.
Three other suspected human traffickers were also taken into custody, the source added.
In southwestern Aydin province, coast guards held 18 people, including Afghans and Syrians, who were trying to reach Greek islands illegally.
In northwestern Edirne province, border guards held 166 people, including Afghans, Indians, Somalians, Palestinians and Syrians, who were trying to reach Greece and Bulgaria illegally.
Also, in southern province of Hatay, border guards held nine Syrians, who were trying to enter Turkey.
In March 2016, Turkey and the EU signed a deal which aimed to discourage irregular migration through the Aegean Sea by taking stricter measures against human traffickers and improving the conditions of some 3 million Syrian refugees in Turkey.
Since then, the number of refugees detained crossing the Aegean Sea between Turkey and Greece has fallen 85 percent, according to the Turkish Coast Guard.