BITLIS, Turkey

Seventy-eight irregular migrants were held in Turkey’s eastern province of Bitlis, a local authority said on Friday.

In a statement, the Bitlis Governor’s office said security forces stopped two “suspicious” minibus in the entrance of city and held the migrants on Thursday.

Also, two human traffickers, identified as S.S. and E.B., were arrested.

The irregular migrants were later sent to the provincial migration directorate.

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 Faruk Zorlu

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