Cyprus es­corts 61 Syr­ian refugees safely to shore: po­lice

The Daily Star (Lebanon) - - REGION -

NICOSIA: Cypriot au­thor­i­ties have safely es­corted a boat car­ry­ing 61 Syr­ian refugees to shore af­ter spot­ting it off the coast of the Mediter­ranean is­land, they said Thurs­day.

The ves­sel was in­ter­cepted late Wed­nes­day evening off the is­land’s north­west­ern coast af­ter em­bark­ing from Turkey, po­lice said.

One woman and 60 males, in­clud­ing seven chil­dren, were trans­ferred to a re­cep­tion cen­ter out­side the cap­i­tal Nicosia Thurs­day af­ter med­i­cal checks, au­thor­i­ties said.

Po­lice cited ar­rivals say­ing they had paid smug­glers $2,000 each to board the boat from Turkey’s coast.

Po­lice added that they had ar­rested a 49-year-old man on sus­pi­cion of smug­gling af­ter he was seen jump­ing from the boat.

Cyprus, a pop­u­lar hol­i­day is­land some 160 kilo­me­ters from Syria’s coast, has not seen the mas­sive in­flow of mi­grants ex­pe­ri­enced by Turkey, Greece and Italy.

But the Euro­pean Union mem­ber has called on Brus­sels to act, as asy­lum re­quests in the first nine months of 2017 rose eight­fold on the same pe­riod of the pre­vi­ous year, to 818.

EU data ranks Cyprus fourth among the bloc’s 28 na­tions in terms of asy­lum ap­pli­ca­tions per capita. –

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Lebanon

© PressReader. All rights reserved.