IZMIR, Turkey

The Turkish Coast Guard rescued 100 asylum seekers off the Aegean Sea coast of Canakkale town, security sources said Saturday.

The asylum seekers of different nationalities wanted to cross to Mytilene Island of Greece.

They 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.

Drone footage of the rescue operation was shared by Turkey’s Defense Ministry on Twitter.

Upon reaching Turkey, they were provided with food and clothing by Turkish officials.

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.

Turkey earlier this year opened its gates for irregular migrants wanting to cross to Europe, accusing the EU of failing to keep its promises under a 2016 migrant deal.

Turkey currently hosts over 3.7 million Syrians, making it the world’s top refugee-hosting country.

*Writing by Havva Kara Aydin

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