Turkey on Thursday rescued 85 asylum seekers, including a number of women and children, who were pushed back by Greek forces into Turkish territorial waters, according to security sources.

The group of asylum seekers initially set off for the Greek island of Lesbos from Ayvacik in Canakkale, northwestern Turkey.

After learning of a rubber boat offshore, the Turkish Coast Guard was deployed to Assos Kadirga Bay off Ayvacik, said the sources, who asked not to be named due to restrictions on speaking to the media.

According to the sources, the asylum seekers asked for help from the Turkish Coast Guard after being pushed back to Turkish waters by Greek security.

The asylum seekers were all provided with food and clothes by Turkish officials and taken to the provincial migration office.

Earlier this year Greece was slammed over firing on asylum seekers at its border using sound, fog, and gas bombs, and rubber and metal bullets.

Numerous asylum seekers have also sought help from Turkey after being forcibly pushed back by Greek soldiers, with many also robbed of their clothing and belongings.

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.

*Writing by Merve Aydogan

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