IZMIR, Turkey

At least 55 asylum seekers, all Iraqi nationals, were held in western Turkey on Tuesday, security sources said.

The migrants, including 33 women, were found hidden in two containers at a port in the Aliaga district of Izmir province.

Gendarmerie forces acted after employees working at the port owned by a private company heard noise from the containers and reported to the officials, according to security forces.

The migrants are said to be in good health.

An investigation conducted by the gendarmerie found that the asylum seekers were brought from the southeastern Sanliurfa province on March 5 and were planned to be sent to Italy on a container ship on March 14.

The asylum seekers reported they suffocated in the containers and drilled holes to breathe and ask for help.

They will be transferred to local provincial migration office after routine procedures.

* Writing by Dilan Pamuk in Ankara

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