Turkey's interior ministry says that 123 migrants being held at a repatriation center in Istanbul have fled in the chaos that ensued after a fire broke out.

The ministry said in a statement that Saturday's fire was set by some of the migrants.

All rooms were vacated and the inmates were brought to an assembly area, from where 123 people fled during the ensuing chaos.

Authorities have detained 20 runaways and are searching for the rest.

Three foreigners who were hospitalized after the fire are all in good condition. An investigation has been launched into the employees who allowed flammable materials in the center, and they have been suspended.

The state-run Anadolu Agency says the majority of the migrants were Afghan and Pakistani nationals.