(Vatican Radio) Turkish authorities say they have stopped 313 migrants on the Black Sea attempting to reach Balkan countries in the last two days, suggesting the emergence of an alternative route to Europe.
The announcement on Sunday came after Bulgarian and Romanian coast guard forces intercepted hundreds of migrants in the Black Sea.
Regional correspondent Stefan Bos reports:
Turkey's coast guard said it halted a fishing boat carrying 93 Syrians and one Afghan off the north shore of Istanbul with a suspected Turkish smuggler on board. It also intercepted 68 Syrians and two Iranians in a sailboat with one alleged Turkish smuggler east of Bulgaria on Saturday.
Earlier on Friday, an official vessel stopped 149 Syrians and two alleged Ukrainian smugglers in a fishing boat east of Romania, authorities said.
The migrants and suspects were brought to Turkey's northwestern Kirklareli province.
Sunday's news came after coast guards from Romania and Bulgaria said they intercepted more than 200 asylum seekers this weekend in the Black Sea, including dozens of children.
Desperate people are increasingly using the Black Sea from Turkey to reach Romania.
From there they hope to enter Hungary, which is part of the European Union's passport-free Schengen zone, on their way to more prosperous and welcoming Western nations.
Hungary has anti-migration fences along its borders with Croatia and Serbia, but not yet near Romania.