The Turkish coast guard on Tuesday rescued 44 illegal foreign migrants from an inflatable boat off Turkey’s Aegean coast, the third time for the force to repeat the feat in the region in one month.
At least 13 children were saved along with others near Cesme district in the Western Province of Izmir, the coast guard said in a statement.
The illegal migrants, among them 36 Syrians and eight Eritreans, are believed to have tried to sneak into a Greek island, the coast guard said.
The coast guard noted that it launched a rescue operation after receiving a message calling for help from the boat.The Aegean Sea is a favorite route for illegal migrants seeking to cross into Europe via Turkey.
A deal between Turkey and the EU in March 2016, has helped reduce the flow of illegal migration through this route, but a rebound has been reported this year.
A total of 2,448 illegal migrants have been blocked by the Turkish coast guard so far this year, up from 1,110 over the same period in 2017, according to latest figures released by the Turkish force.
The coast guard rescued a total of 54 illegal foreign migrants in two previous operations on Jan. 11 and February 5.