Turkish police caught 62 irregular migrants in two separate operations in the northwestern and eastern parts of the country, a local authority said on Tuesday.

Provincial Police Directorate’s Anti-Smuggling teams in the northwestern Sakarya province, stopped a bus during traffic controls on the Anatolian Highway.

During the search, migrants from Pakistan and Afghanistan, who had entered the country illegally, were held.

Also, three suspected human traffickers were arrested.

In a separate operation in the eastern Bitlis province, local anti-smuggling teams caught 41 irregular migrants in a minibus.

Also, one human trafficking suspect, identified as S.C., was arrested.

Turkey has been a key transit point for irregular migrants aiming to cross to Europe to start new lives, especially those fleeing war and persecution.

Some 268,000 irregular migrants were held in Turkey in 2018, according to the Interior Ministry, and over 336,000 have been held so far this year.

*Writing by Havva Kara Aydin

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