IZMIR, Turkey

The Turkish Coast Guard rescued 21 asylum seekers off the Aegean Sea, security sources said Saturday.

The group of asylum seekers – all Syrian nationals – were onboard rubber boats that were directed to Turkish territorial waters by the Greek Coast Guard, said the sources, who asked not to be named due to restrictions on speaking to the media.

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.

Late last month, Turkey announced it would no longer stop asylum seekers from reaching

Read more: Turkey rescues 21 asylum seekers from boats in Aegean