Turkish operation on Iranian border stops more than 1,450 migrants

ISTANBUL (AP) – Security forces in eastern Turkey have carried out a major operation against human traffickers crossing the Iranian border with migrants, the provincial governor’s office said on Monday.

More than 1,450 migrants have been found in abandoned buildings around Mount Erek, which dominates the town of Van, since July 10, Van governor’s office said.

Eleven “organizers” were arrested, six of whom were imprisoned by court order. The statement added that 11 “barracks style” buildings intended to contain the migrants were demolished.

The operation comes amid concerns about a possible spike in migrants from Afghanistan ahead of the US withdrawal and intense fighting between the Taliban and Afghan government forces.

Describing previous police and border operations, supported by aerial drones, the governor’s office said 27,230 migrants had been caught crossing the Iranian border so far this year.

Turkey’s border with Iran has long been a popular smuggling route for people, mainly Afghans, Iranians and Pakistanis, seeking entry into Turkey before heading west to cities like Istanbul and Ankara.

Migrants typically hope to raise money in Turkey by working on the black market before traveling to Europe.

Turkey, which hosts around 4 million refugees, is implementing new security measures at its eastern border. Afghans are considered the second largest refugee community after Syrians.


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