Montenegrin police arrest 16 for smuggling 138 West-bound Syrian migrants

Police in Montenegro say they have arrested 16 people suspected of smuggling into Serbia 138 Syrian migrants who were trying to flee their war-ravaged country and reach Western Europe

Police said Friday they have broken a human smuggling chain from Albania to Serbia that passes Montenegro. Tens of thousands of migrants from Africa and the Middle East have travelled illegally through the Balkans, mostly toward Hungary at Serbia's northern border.

Montenegrin police say one of those arrested is a Serbian citizen. Police say they are searching for two more suspects.

The migrants have been fleeing wars and poverty in their homelands in months-long journeys across several countries. This week, a human rights watchdog accused Serbian police of harassing the migrants, a charge police denied.