Migrant crossing halted


Turkish authorities stopped 330 migrants attempting to cross to the Greek island Lesbos officials said.

The coastguard in the Kucukkuyu area of western Canakkale province said it conducted seven operations to pick up migrants trying to cross since.

The migrants detained were Afghan, Syrian, Iranian and Iraqi nationals, it said, adding the number attempting to cross surged recently and 699 people were detained since August 10.

Mediterranean arrivals into the European Union, including the longer and more perilous crossing from North Africa to Italy, totalled 172,301 in 2017, down from 362,753 in 2016 and over a million in 2015, according to UN data.

Numbers declined sharply since 2015 after Turkey, in exchange for three billion euros in European Union aid and a promise to ease visa restrictions for Turks, exerted more control on migrants crossing via its territory.

Many still attempt the short but perilous sea trip and Turkey remains a main launch point.