The Turkish Coast Guard rescued 45 asylum seekers, who were pushed back by Greek forces into Turkish territorial waters, said security sources on Wednesday.

The asylum seekers initially set off for the Greek island of Lesbos from the coast of Ayvacik district of Turkey’s northwestern Canakkale province.

Their rubber raft was pushed back 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.

The asylum seekers, who were rescued off Igdeli Burnu, were referred to the police station in Ayvacik district.

Turkey has been one of the main routes for asylum seekers wanting to reach Europe, especially since Syria’s 2011 civil war.

It hosts nearly four million Syrians, more than any other country in the world.

*Writing by Gozde Bayar

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