Turkish authorities stop 92 Syrian, Afghan, Palestinian refugees en route to Mediterranean

Turkish authorities stop 92 Syrian, Afghan, Palestinian refugees en route to Mediterranean
Turkish gendarmerie stopped three minibuses containing refugees, the vast majority Syrian, as they headed towards the Mediterranean port city of Fethiye.
2 min read
26 August, 2022
Turkey is a common transit point for refugees heading to Europe and elsewhere [Anadolu via Getty-archive]

Turkish authorities stopped 92 refugees from Afghanistan, Palestine and Syria on Thursday as they travelled towards the Mediterranean coast, according to reports.

The Turkish gendarmerie on Thursday morning stopped three minibuses travelling from the southern city of Antalya to Fethiye in Mugla province, Turkish news agency DHA reported.

The vast majority of the refugees, 79 of them, were Syrian nationals, according to DHA; of the remainder, ten were Palestinian and three were Afghan.

The refugees were handed over to Turkish immigration authorities, the report said.

The minibuses had been led by a car containing five Turkish nationals, who authorities suspected had organised the refugees' travel. The five Turkish nationals were arrested.

Turkey is a common transit point for refugees from the Middle East and beyond seeking sanctuary in Europe and elsewhere.

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Refugee travel from Turkey to Europe has shrunk to a fraction of what it once was after Turkey and the European Union signed a deal in 2016 to stem the flow of refugees.

In return for Turkey stopping refugees from travelling to EU member state Greece's islands, the EU gave Turkey billions of euros to improve the humanitarian situation in the country. 

However, thousands of refugees make the dangerous journey across the Mediterranean every year, at risk of drowning or mistreatment by border authorities.

More than five million Syrian refugees have fled their home country since war began in 2011. Another six million have been displaced to elsewhere within Syria.

Turkey alone is currently home to more than 3.5 million Syrian refugees.

Hundreds of thousands of Afghans fled their country as the Taliban, a hardline Islamist group, swept across the country and seized power last year.

Palestinians flee chronically poor socioeconomic conditions and human rights abuses at the hands of Israeli and Palestinian authorities.