AYDIN, Turkey

The Turkish Coast Guard rescued 42 asylum seekers who were pushed back by Greek coastal officers into Turkish waters in the Aegean, said security sources on Wednesday.

A coast guard team was dispatched to the area off the coast of Kusadasi in the Aydin province after learning that the asylum seekers were stranded on a dinghy, said the sources, who asked not to be named due to restrictions on speaking to the media.

They were brought ashore on a coast guard vessel before being transferred to the provincial migration office.

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.

The country opened its gates earlier this year to asylum seekers seeking to cross to Europe, accusing the European Union of failing to keep its promises under a 2016 migrant deal.

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

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