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Turkey arrests 13 Syrians attempting to reach Europe

A Turkish national was also arrested for allegedly helping the group transit through Turkey to Europe
A policeman stands guard at the wall separating Turkey from Bulgaria, a major EU entry point (AFP)

Turkish police on Friday arrested 13 Syrian nationals who were attempting to cross over into Europe through Turkey.

The group were arrested in a small village in the border province of Edirne, by officers from the Turkish gendarmerie, a military force tasked with police duties.

The Syrian nationals were detained over 1,000 kilometres from the nearest land border with Syria, after a coach they were travelling in was stopped and searched by border forces.

The group were stopped not far from Turkey’s frontiers with Greece and Bulgaria, both members of the European Union.

A Turkish national was also arrested on suspicion of aiding the group to travel through Turkey.

The Syrian migrants were taken to Edirne Removal Centre, where people suspected of attempting to cross into Europe without the necessary documents are held.

People can be detained for months at a time at the facility, which has a capacity of 650 – children and families are held at the centre, although there is not a specialised family unit.

Turkish police last week arrested 77 people in Edirne province as they attempted to cross into Europe, including people from Syria, Afghanistan and Georgia.

Both Greece and Bulgaria have erected walls along their borders with Turkey in a bid to stop refugees and migrants crossing into the European Union.

The EU was asked for funds to help Greece build its 10-kilometre wall, but refused, calling the plans “pointless”.

Last week the UN’s refugee agency expressed its “increasing concern that people needing international protection were being blocked from entering the European Union,” after two Iraqi refugees died after allegedly being beaten by Bulgarian border guards.

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