At least 17 irregular migrants were held in northwestern Turkey, local authorities said on Monday.

In the Kirklareli province, gendarmerie teams held seven Afghan nationals when they stopped a vehicle in the Yukarikanara village after a tip-off.

They also arrested two people accused of human smuggling.

Meanwhile, another two migrants of Syrian origin were held near the Tatlipinar village in the same area.

The migrants claimed that they were beaten up in Bulgaria and sent to Turkey.

Separately, eight irregular migrants – who illegally entered Turkey – were held in the Kocaeli province.

The migrants were held after police teams stopped a vehicle on the highway, said a statement from the provincial police department. The driver, accused of human trafficking, was arrested.

All migrants were sent to the local migration offices after routine procedures.

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

Turkey, which already hosts 4 million refugees, more than any country in the world, is taking new security measures on its borders to prevent a fresh influx of migrants.

*Writing by Jeyhun Aliyev

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