Turkish coast guard rescues 44 migrants stuck on island

Turkish coast guard rescues 44 migrants stuck on island

BALIKESİR

This file photo shows a Turkish rescue operation in July during which 34 migrants stranded on the Aegean Island of Boğaz were saved.

Turkish coast guard on Nov. 19 rescued 44 irregular migrants stuck on an island after they attempted the crossing to Greece.

In a statement, the coast guard said it dispatched two helicopters and one boat following a rescue request call by a migrant. Aerial footage showed groups of people on the Yumurta island off the coast of the western province of Balıkesir’s Ayvalık district.

Videos showed coast guard officers aiding women and children to board its ship.

The irregular migrants were mostly Afghan, Pakistani, Syrian and Iraqi nationals, Turkey’s state-run Anadolu Agency has said.

Although their numbers have decreased in recent years, migrants still try to cross into Greece from nearby Turkey in the hopes of making their way to other European countries.

Turkey has been the main route for refugees trying to cross into Europe, especially since the beginning of the civil war in Syria.

Some 205,000 irregular migrants were held in Turkey in 2018 as of Oct. 15, according to the interior ministry.

Turkish coast guard rescues 44 migrants stuck on island