Turkish security forces have held some 251,794 irregular migrants so far this year, the country’s interior minister said on Dec. 10.
Speaking at the Intergovernmental Conference on Global Compact for Migration in Morocco, Süleyman Soylu said: “There is an increase of 56 percent compared to the figures of the first 11 months of last year.”
Turkey also deported some 53,860 people and nabbed 5,522 human smugglers this year, he added.
Turkey has been the main route for refugees trying to cross into Europe, especially since the beginning of the civil war in Syria.
Among the migrants held in 2017 in Turkey, the majority came from Pakistan, followed by Afghans and Syrians.
During his speech, the interior minister also noted Turkey hosts over 3.6 million Syrians under “temporary protection” status and provides education to 916,074 of them every year.
Turkey has spent more than $32 billion from its own national resources for helping and sheltering refugees since the beginning of the Syrian civil war.