Afghan exodus: Turkey nabs 133 refugees near Iranian border in 2 days

Turkish authorities have detained some 133 refugees in the eastern province of Van. Reports say that thousands of Afghans are escaping to Turkey through Iran amid the outbreak of violence in their own countries.

Duvar English 

Turkish authorities have detained 133 refugees, a vast majority of them Afghans, near its southern border with Iran over the past two days amid rising violence in Afghanistan.

Authorities detained 73 Afghans on July 17 in the eastern province of Van, while another 60 refugees, of whom 59 were Afghans, were detained in Van's Erciş district on July 18, the officials said.

The seats of the vehicles that the refugees were found were seen to be removed in order for up to 60 individuals to fit.

The drivers of both vehicles were detained. 

Concerns over a potential new influx of refugees into Turkey from Afghanistan have grown in recent weeks, as violence between the Afghan government and the Taliban has surged as U.S. and NATO forces withdraw.

The U.N. refugee agency estimates 270,000 Afghans have been displaced inside the country since January, bringing the number of people forced from their homes to more than 3.5 million.

Reports of Turkish security forces detaining Afghan refugees have dramatically increased in the past couple of weeks. 

Last month, the foreign ministers of Turkey, Afghanistan and Iran met at the Antalya Diplomacy Forum (ADF) in southern Turkey to discuss cooperation over security, energy, and migration.

Turkish diplomatic sources have said there is no specific mechanism between Ankara and Tehran to address migration from Afghanistan despite Turkey being a primary destination, but that border security measures in general are in place along borders.

Turkey hosts more than 4 million refugees, the vast majority from Syria, and is the world's leading refugee host.