MERSIN, Turkey

At least 19 asylum seekers were rescued by the Turkish Coast Guard on Wednesday after a boat carrying them sank near the southern Mersin province, according to security sources.

The boat carrying 19 Syrian nationals sank in the Mediterranean, off the coast of Mersin, said the sources, who asked not to be named due to restrictions on speaking to the media.

The coast guard rescued the asylum seekers, including 13 who were injured.

Most of the injured asylum seekers were hospitalized in Mersin, while one who was seriously injured was sent to the Antalya province for treatment.

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

Turkey hosts nearly 4 million irregular migrants, more than any other country in the world.

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