IZMIR, Turkey

Some 131 irregular migrants attempting to illegally cross to neighboring countries were held in Turkey’s western province of Izmir, security sources said Sunday.

The Coast Guard stopped boats carrying 54 Palestinians, 60 Syrians, 14 Kuwaitis, two Somalians and one Iraqi national off Cesme district, according to the sources.

While no further details were provided, the sources said the migrants were referred to the Provincial Directorate General of Migration Management.

Connecting Europe and Asia, Turkey is a common route for irregular migrants en route to European countries.

Some 268,000 irregular migrants were held in Turkey in 2018, about 175,000

Read more: 131 irregular migrants held off Turkey's western coast