MUGLA / EDIRNE / ERZURUM/ BALIKESIR, Turkey
More than 280 migrants were held during operations across three provinces on Monday, according to Turkish officials.
Gendarme forces followed two school buses in Gavoroglu district of southwestern Mugla province, which led to the discovery of 48 Iraqis and 27 Syrians hiding in the woods. The bus drivers were also detained, said a gendarme source, who asked not to be named due to restrictions on speaking to the media.
The migrants had reportedly paid $3,000 to $5,000 per person to take the buses, after which they planned to sail to Rhodes, Greece and later to Italy, the source added.
Separately, border guards arrested four migrants in northwestern Edirne province. Two of them were Syrian refugees trying to illegally cross the Greek border, the source added.
One of the migrants, identified by the initials H.Y.Y., had been fired from his teaching job for sympathizing with PKK terrorists.
The PKK -- listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the U.S. and EU -- resumed its armed campaign against Turkey in July 2015. Since then, it has been responsible for the deaths of more than 1,200 Turkish security personnel and civilians.
Also, six foreign nationals who illegally entered Turkey were detained in eastern Erzurum province, according to regional governor’s office.
Separately, 144 migrants trying to go abroad were detained in northwestern Turkey on Monday, according to a security sources.
The sources, who spoke on condition of anonymity due to restrictions on talking to the media, said the migrants were nationals of Syria, Palestine, Iraq, Bangladesh and Afghanistan.
They were trying to illegally cross the border to Greece or Bulgaria via the northwestern Edirne province, the sources added.
The migrants were taken to the Edirne Migration Management Directorate.
Also, 52 refugees, who were trying to go to Greek island of Lesbos illegally, were also detained in western Balikesir province on Monday, according to a gendarme source.
The sources who asked not to be named due to restrictions on talking to the media said the migrants were Syrians and they will be brought to Balikesir Migration Management Centre.