BALIKESIR, Turkey

At least 25 asylum seekers were held in northwestern Turkey after attempting to reach Europe illegally, a security source said late Thursday. 

Acting on a tipoff, provincial gendarmerie command teams in Ayvalik district of Balikesir province detained 25 Syrian nationals who were preparing to travel to the Greek island of Lesbos, said the source on condition of anonymity.

A man suspected of organizing the illegal journey was also arrested, the source added.

The asylum seekers were referred to the provincial migration office, while legal proceedings have been initiated against the suspected organizer.

Due to its geographical location and conflicts in neighboring regions, Turkey has been one of the main routes for asylum seekers seeking to start a new life in Europe.

The deadly civil war in Syria has been one of the triggering factors behind the large-scale migration to continental Europe.

Turkey hosts nearly four million Syrians, more than any other country in the world.

*Writing by Sena Guler

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