Two more groups of Syrian refugees arrive in Cyprus

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Photograph artwork copyright © Travel Gazette.
Photograph artwork copyright © Travel Gazette.

Two more groups of Syrian refugees arrived in Cyprus on Sunday, the Cypriot authorities said.

They said that 37 people, 35 men and two underage children, arrived by boat overnight in the occupied part of Cyprus, and later crossed on foot into the area under the control of the Cypriot government.

Another group of 10 people were found on a ship which arrived from Turkey and docked at a port in the occupied part of Cyprus with a cargo of lorries.

Turkish troops occupied the northern part of Cyprus in a 1974 military operation in reaction to a coup by the military rulers of Greece at that time.

A police statement said that the group of 37 unregulated refugees were brought by a trafficker aboard a boat which had set off from the southern Turkish city of Mersin.

They made the perilous crossing just three days after a sole survivor who was picked out of the sea said that seven other people had perished when their boat capsized in rough seas.

The Syrian refugees said they paid a trafficker more than 70,000 euros for the 250 km trip.

They said the trafficker returned to Turkey after they disembarked at a fishing facility. They were later led through a mountain track into government controlled area.

Cypriot Interior Minister Constantinos Petrides said in a recent interview that unregulated Syrian immigrants arrive in Cyprus to stay with relatives or friends who had arrived in Cyprus in the past.

He raised the alarm, saying that the number of unregulated immigrants arriving mostly through the Turkish occupied part of Cyprus has reached 1,000 a month, stretching to its limited capacity of the island to care for the refugees.

Immigration authorities have said that they are currently vetting more than 4,100 asylum applications. (1 euro = 1.14 U.S. dollars)

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