Five human traffickers were arrested and over 80 foreign nationals illegally brought into the country were held in southeastern Turkey, according to a security source on Friday.

Local police teams carried out an operation against migrant smugglers on the Hilvan-Siverek highway in the Sanliurfa province, said the source on condition of anonymity due to restrictions on speaking to the media.

A total of 82 Afghan nationals were held in the operation, while five human traffickers were arrested.

The Afghan nationals will be referred to the provincial migration office, the source added.

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

It hosts nearly 4 million refugees, including more than 3.6 million Syrians, more than any other country in the world.

*Writing by Handan Kazanci

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