Turkish coast guard intercepted some 183 migrants off the coast of Turkey in two incidents over the weekend, as they tried to sail to Greek Islands, it said in a written statement on Monday.
Some 21 Syrians and 10 Palestinians and 13 Iraqi nationals were intercepted off the coast of Aegean town of Cesme on Saturday around 8.04 a.m., the statement said. It said another 139 migrants from various countries including Syria, Yemen and Egypt were captured off coast Cesme on Sunday after they were spotted at sea.
Footage released by coast guard showed migrants being brought to pot in Aegean town of Cesme on Sunday before being sent to repatriation centre.
In 2015, Turkey became one of the main launch points for more than a million migrants taking the sea route to the European Union, many fleeing conflict and poverty in the Middle East and Africa.
A 2016 deal between Turkey and the European Union sharply reduced the flow, after hundreds died crossing to Greek islands a few miles off the Turkish shore.
Up until Monday, 63 people described by the Turkish coast guard as "irregular migrants" died this year in the sea off Turkey, according to the coast guard's website.
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