ADANA, Turkey

Turkish security forces arrested at least seven suspected migrant smugglers in operations based in the country’s southern Adana province, security sources said on Thursday.

With the support of the country’s National Intelligence Organization (MIT), anti-smuggling police and border teams carried out simultaneous operations in the Adana and southeastern Gaziantep provinces, said the sources, who asked not to be named due to restrictions on speaking to the media.

The team captured seven suspects engaged in migrant smuggling, it said. The suspects were accused of taking irregular immigrants to various provinces for $600-2,000 (4,450-14,800 Turkish lira) and referred to court, it added.

Two of the suspects were released after interrogation and five were remanded in custody, it noted.

During the operations, at least 225 irregular migrants were arrested and referred to the provincial migration office, it added.

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

*Writing by Gozde Bayar

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