SKOPJE, Macedonia – The Latest on migrants seeking sanctuary in Europe (all times local):
Police in Istanbul say they have detained eight suspects in simultaneous raids targeting human smugglers and seized fake passports and other materials.
A police statement on Wednesday said the suspects were taken into custody following a series of raids at 14 homes across the city.
Police anti-smuggling units also say they seized more than 1,000 fake or stolen passports and other documents apparently used to smuggle migrants to European countries. Materials to produce fake passports were also seized. The state-run Anadolu Agency says the suspects include two Syrians.
Turkey agreed in November to fight the smuggling networks and help curb irregular migration. The European Union pledged 3 billion euros ($3.25 billion) to help improve the refugees' conditions in return.
Macedonia has lifted restrictions on the entry of refugees from the Greek border after Macedonian taxi drivers ended a five-day protest that had closed a key railway line, slowing migrant flows to Serbia.
Macedonian railways official Kire Dimoski said the railway service, which migrants use to head north through the Balkans, has been functioning normally since early Wednesday.
Taxi drivers blocked the tracks demanding that authorities allow them to carry transient migrants to Serbia even if there are available train and bus seats. During the protest, only small numbers of migrants were allowed to enter Macedonia.
Macedonia accepts people only from war-affected zones who declare Austria or Germany as their final destination.
More than 55,000 migrants have passed through Macedonia this year.