NICOSIA, Cyprus – Cypriot authorities brought ashore more than 300 Syrian refugees early on Sunday, September 10, after spotting two boats in open water off the northwest coast of the Mediterranean island, police said.
It was one of the largest waves of migrants to be received by Cypriot authorities in a single day since civil war erupted in Syria in 2011.
The 305 migrants, who included 30 women and 73 children, said they had set off from the Turkish port of Mersin and paid up to $2,000 (1,600 euros) each for the crossing.
Police arrested a 36-year-old man on suspicion of piloting one of the boats. He was expected to appear before a court in the resort town of Paphos later on Sunday.
Police said the migrants were in good health and would be transported to a reception centre outside the capital Nicosia. A woman and her 10-month-old baby were taken to hospital as a precaution.
Cyprus, an EU member state located 160 kilometres (100 miles) from Syria’s Mediterranean coast, has not seen the massive inflow of migrants experienced by Turkey and Greece.
Since September 2014, however, more than a dozen migrant boats have reached the island, bringing in nearly 1,500 migrants including the latest arrivals.
Some were trying to join relatives on the island while others were seeking refuge in Europe. – Rappler.com