IZMIR, Turkey 

Turkey on Monday rescued 45 asylum seekers in the Aegean who were pushed back by Greek forces into Turkish territorial waters, according to security sources.

The Turkish Coast Guard was deployed to Dikili, Izmir, after learning of a rubber boat offshore, said the sources, who asked not to be named due to restrictions on speaking to the media.

Among the rescued asylum seekers – which included women and children – were 26 Syrians, five Somalis, four Gambians, three Congolese, three Eritreans, two Senegalese, as well as Mauritanians and Guineans.

After being taken to the provincial immigration office, the asylum seekers’ legal process began.

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

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

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