ATHENS (Reuters) – Cyprus intercepted a vessel carrying 101 Syrians off its coast on Tuesday, police said, one of the largest arrivals of refugees from the neighboring country in recent months.
The Syrians were loaded at sea onto a coastguard vessel and from there led to a harbor in the south-east of the island.
“There were minors among those on the boat, which appears to have set off from Turkey,” a police spokeswoman added.
The island, the closest European Union member state to the Middle East, has seen a gradual uptick in arrivals of undocumented migrants and refugees in the past 18 months as other routes have become more difficult to cross.
Many are refugees from Syria, but there has also been an increase in arrivals of people fleeing upheaval in Cameroon via the unrecognized breakaway state in north Cyprus.
Additional reporting by Yiannis Kourtoglou; Writing By Michele Kambas, Editing by William Maclean