MALATYA, Turkey

Security forces held at least 11 irregular migrants in eastern Turkey, officials said Wednesday.

Local gendarmerie teams in the Kale district of Malatya held the Pakistani and Afghan national migrants riding a bus during a routine check, said the provincial governorate in a statement. The migrants were heading towards the northwestern Edirne province bordering Greece.

After imposing fine on the migrants and the smugglers, authorities shifted the migrants to the provincial repatriation center, it added.

Turkey has been a key transit point for asylum seekers who want to cross into Europe to start new lives, especially those fleeing war and persecution.

It hosts nearly 4 million refugees, including more than 3.6 million Syrians, the most of any country in the world.

*Writing by Havva Kara Aydin in Ankara

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