Turkey Nabs 350 Migrants Heading to Greece

TEHRAN (Tasnim) – The Turkish coastguard stopped five boats carrying dozens of migrants, mostly from Myanmar, who were trying to reach the Greek island of Lesbos, local media reported.

Turkey Nabs 350 Migrants Heading to Greece

A coastguard vessel spotted the boats about four miles off the shore of Dikili town in Izmir province as they tried to reach Lesbos, AFP cited the private Dogan news agency as reporting on Sunday.

The coastguard stopped the boats and took the migrants back to shore where they were handed over to the police.

Most of them were from Myanmar.

"There is a planned massacre against Muslims in the country we live," one of the migrants told Dogan, saying the combination of danger and poverty had forced them to leave.

His remarks suggested they were members of Myanmar's Rohingya, a persecuted Muslim minority which has been targeted by violent attacks and state-sanctioned discrimination in the Buddhist-majority state, earning them a reputation as one of the world's most persecuted peoples.

The numbers of people reaching Greece from Turkey have declined since an EU-Turkey deal went into effect on March 20 under which all migrants landing on the Greek islands face are sent back.

Before the deal, those arriving each day had numbered in the thousands. On Monday, 1,662 people arrived, but this fell to 600 on Tuesday and 260 on Wednesday.

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