CANAKKALE, Turkey

The Turkish Coast Guard rescued 145 asylum seekers in the Aegean Sea, security sources said Thursday.

At least 145 people from different countries trying to cross to Greece on a wooden boat set sail from the coast of Canakkale in northwestern Turkey, said the source, who asked not to be named due to restrictions on speaking to the media.

After the vessel broke down and they started to drift, the asylum seekers called for help from the coast guard.

The sources said security forces had detained two suspected human traffickers who organized the asylum seekers’ trip.

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.

Earlier this year, Turkey opened its gates to irregular migrants, accusing the EU of failing to keep promises under a 2016 migrant deal.

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

*Writing by Fahri Aksut

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