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AFP
March 22, 2020

North Cyprus rescues Syrians turned away by Nicosia

World

AFP
March 22, 2020

NICOSIA: Police in northern Cyprus said Saturday that they had rescued 175 Syrians from the sea after authorities in the island’s south stopped them from disembarking the previous day.

The eastern Mediterranean island is divided between the internationally-recognised Republic of Cyprus and the northern third under Turkish control.

Police in the north said the refugees, including 69 children, were rescued overnight after their boat sank not far from shore, south of the Karpas Peninsula. They were taken to a sports facility in the Iskele district and would undergo medical examinations, police added. It was not immediately clear where the boat had set off from.

On Friday, authorities in the south had stopped the boat from landing.

Cyprus is located 160 kilometres (100 miles) from the Syrian coast and close to Lebanon and Turkey, two major host countries of Syrian refugees. The Republic of Cyprus, an EU member, says it is on the front line of the Mediterranean migration route with the highest number of first-time asylum seekers per capita. Several migrant boats carrying Syrians have reached Cyprus in recent months. However, the island has not seen the massive inflows experienced by Turkey and Greece.