ansaRefugees arrive in Turkey along a route to the west, in Erzurum, Turkey | Photo: EPA/ERDEM SAHIN
ansaRefugees arrive in Turkey along a route to the west, in Erzurum, Turkey | Photo: EPA/ERDEM SAHIN

Turkish authorities said they stopped 636 migrants on Wednesday who were trying to reach EU countries irregularly. Meanwhile, migrant bodies continue to turn up at the border between Turkey and Iran, where the bodies of nine foreigners were found on Tuesday, as winter snow thawed.

Turkish authorities on Wednesday stopped 636 migrants who were preparing to cross the border with the European Union without regular documents, according to security sources cited by Turkish news agency Anadolu. 

The majority of the migrants, 565, were intercepted in the northwestern province of Edirne, near the border with Greece. Authorities said the migrants are citizens of Palestine, Morocco, Bangladesh, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Syria. 

In the same area, a minibus carrying 16 migrants had an accident and 11 of the migrants aboard were injured. 

The Turkish interior ministry said last year Turkey stopped 268,000 migrants and refugees who were trying to reach the European Union. 

Migrant bodies found at border with Iran 

The bodies of nine migrants who froze to death were found by some residents in a rural area of the eastern Turkish province of Van, at the border with Iran. According to a reconstruction by the Ankara gendarmerie who responded to the scene, the bodies emerged after the winter snow thawed. The migrants had crossed the border in recent weeks. The bodies were sent for autopsies. 

In recent weeks, other victims were found in the same area in similar condition. In the rural and mountainous area between Turkey and Iran, winter snowfalls are frequent and often heavy, and temperatures dip to many degrees below zero. At that border, the majority of migrants come from Afghanistan and Pakistan, making Turkey in many cases a transit country for them towards the European Union. Along part of the border, there is also a separation barrier to fight contraband and illegal transit. Ankara built the barrier with the added objective of stopping eventual resupplying of Kurdish PKK rebels by their supporters in Iranian territory.

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