18 Suspected People-Smugglers Detained in Turkey

ISTANBUL (AP) -

Turkey’s state-run news agency says security forces have conducted anti-smuggling operations in five cities leading to the capture of 18 alleged people-smugglers, most of them Syrian nationals.

The synchronized operations focused on the Black Sea town of Samsum, and the coastal city of Izmir – a traditional departure point for migrants seeking to cross the Aegean Sea and reach the shores of Greece. Security forces also carried out raids in Istanbul – another hub for smuggling rings, the central Anatolia city of Aksaray, and the southeastern city of Sanliurfa.

Sixteen addresses were targeted in total, according to the Anadolu Agency, in an operation spearheaded by Izmir police.

Turkey has committed to crack down on smuggling operations as part of a deal with the EU aiming to stem the flow of illegal migrants from Turkey to Europe.