MUGLA, Turkey

The Turkish Coast Guard rescued 23 asylum seekers, who were stranded in the Aegean Sea, security sources said on Wednesday.

The engines of two rubber boats carrying the asylum seekers broke down at sea, said the sources who asked not to be named due to restrictions on speaking the media.

After the asylum seekers called for help, the coast guard was dispatched to the area from the Marmaris district of southwestern Mugla.

The stranded people, including women and children, were taken to the Turkish shore on a coast guard boat 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 irregular migrants seeking to cross to Europe, accusing the EU 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.

*Writing by Fahri Aksut

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