IZMIR, Turkey

At least 42 asylum seekers were held in western Turkey for attempting to reach Europe illegally, a security source said Monday.

Acting on a tipoff, provincial gendarmerie command teams in Menderes district of Izmir province detained 36 Congo nationals, four Central African Republic nationals and two Afghan nationals who were preparing to travel to Greece, said the source on the condition of anonymity.

The asylum seekers were referred to the provincial migration office, while a rubber boat and a motor were seized by security teams.

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 the continent.

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

*Writing by Merve Aydogan in Ankara

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