Syrian refugees arrive on Cyprus shores in stormy seas

Source:Xinhua Published: 2019/1/8 20:10:36

A small boat carrying 31 Syrian immigrants arrived Tuesday dawn on the northwestern shores of Cyprus after a perilous journey across the stormy sea from Turkey amid strong winds, Cypriot authorities said.

According to the police, the group included 27 men and a family with a five-year-old boy and a six-year-old girl.

The immigrants said they arrived during dark hours at a nearby Turkish Cypriot fishing shelter and were led by the traffickers through a mountain path into the Greek Cypriot part of the eastern Mediterranean island, a police statement said.

They added the refugees were soaked to the bone when they arrived at a Greek Cypriot village, as they had been walking in the rain for almost one hour.

This is the first group of unregulated immigrants who arrived in Cyprus so far this year, after more than 4,000 entered the island in 2018.

Police sources said on condition of anonymity that they have noticed a change in the tactics used by traffickers to bring refugees or unregulated immigrants into Cyprus.

Instead of targeting remote shores in areas controlled by the internationally recognized government of the island, facing the risk of being arrested by the authorities, in the last few months the traffickers arrived at the same fishing shelter in the Turkish part of Cyprus, said the police.

Police suspect that the traffickers have local Turkish Cypriot associates who know well the mountain region through which the refugees cross at night time into Cyprus.

Cypriot Interior Minister Constantinos Petrides have recently said that Syrian refugees who come to Cyprus through illegal points of entry do not plan to travel to any other EU country, but rather to stay with relatives or friends who have set up a residence on the island.

Posted in: EUROPE

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