IZMIR,Turkey

At least nine asylum seekers were rescued by the Turkish Coast Guard off the country’s western coast on Wednesday.

The Coast Guard Command said on its website that the group of asylum seekers traveling in a rubber boat had been pushed back to Turkish waters in the Aegean Sea by Greek authorities.

Acting on a tip off, a rescue vessel was sent to the group and converged on it off the Foca district of Izmir province.

The asylum seekers were transferred to the provincial migration office after reaching shore.

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

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

*Writing by Seda Sevencan in Ankara

Copyright 2021 Anadolu Agency. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.