SAWT BEIRUT INTERNATIONAL

| 26 July 2021, Monday |

Turkey detains 133 migrants near Iranian border in two days: Officials

Turkish officials from the interior ministry said on Sunday that authorities have detained 133 undocumented migrants, most of them Afghans, near its southern border with Iran over the past two days, amid rising violence in Afghanistan.

Authorities detained 73 Afghans on Saturday in the eastern province of Van, while another 60 migrants, of whom 59 were Afghans, were detained in Van’s Ercis district on Sunday, the officials said.

Concerns over a potential new flow of migrants into Turkey from Afghanistan have grown in recent weeks, as violence between the Afghan government and the Taliban has surged as US and NATO forces withdraw.

The UN refugee agency estimates 270,000 Afghans have been displaced inside the country since January, bringing the number of people forced from their homes to more than 3.5 million.

Last month, the foreign ministers of Turkey, Afghanistan and Iran met at the Antalya Diplomacy Forum (ADF) in southern Turkey to discuss cooperation over security, energy, and migration.

Turkish diplomatic sources have said there is no specific mechanism between Ankara and Tehran to address migration from Afghanistan despite Turkey being a primary destination, but that border security measures in general are in place along borders.

Turkey hosts more than 4 million refugees, the vast majority from Syria, and is the world’s leading refugee host.