At least 27 irregular migrants were held in Turkey, local sources said on Tuesday.

As part of a probe into migrant smuggling and human trafficking, police teams conducted an operation in northwestern Tekirdag province where they found at least 22 migrants inside two separate vehicles, said the source, who asked not to be named due to restrictions on speaking to the media.

One of the vehicles was carrying four Syrians, three Egyptians, an Iranian and an Afghan, said a source.

In another vehicle, police teams held five Egyptians, three Syrians, three Afghans and two Iraqis. They also siezed two inflatable boats.

The drivers of the vehicles, F.S. and M.G., were arrested at the scene.

In south-central Kilis province, police teams held five foreign nationals who had entered the country by illegal means, said the local governor’s office.

The foreigners were referred to provincial migration offices.

Turkey has been a main route for irregular migrants trying to cross to Europe, especially since 2011, the start of the Syrian civil war.

Over 265,000 irregular migrants were held in Turkey in 2018, according to the country’s Interior Ministry.

*Writing by Merve Aydogan in Ankara.

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