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Turkey rescues 244 migrants in alleged hot-return by Greece

Istanbul, January 24 (EFE).- A Turkish coast guard team rescued a total of 244 migrants in the Aegean Sea in one day, most of them after being allegedly returned to Turkish waters by Greek naval patrols. The captain reports this Tuesday.

All rescue operations took place during the day on Monday along the Aegean coast near the Greek islands of Lesbos, Chios, Samos and Kos.

In eight of the 10 incidents, migrants arrived in Greek territorial waters and were escorted by Greek patrols into Turkish waters, an illegal practice known as “hot towing” and denied by Athens, according to a Turkish captain.

Turkey said in a statement that in three cases the migrants were rescued after being left behind with a life raft unable to maneuver.

In two cases involving a total of 40 migrants, Turkish patrols freed inflatable boats bound for the Greek island of Kos and detained the passengers.

The captain’s message does not provide information about the nationalities of the rescued or detained migrants.

According to Turkey’s Interior Ministry, security forces detained 6,800 migrants across the country in the first three weeks of this year, including 2,100 Afghans, 1,000 Syrians and 400 Turkmen, in addition to up to two to three hundred each. The case of Moroccans, Uzbeks, Iranians, Congolese, Pakistanis and Liberians.

Last year, Afghans made up almost half of the 285,000 illegal migrants detained in Turkey.

Source: El Diario





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