ONLY six of the more than 300 Syrians rescued three weeks ago off the Cyprus coast have applied for asylum, with three of them unaccompanied minors, according to the Cyprus News Agency (CNA).
The majority of the refugees are still hosted in a former army barracks in Kokkinotrimithia, and their aim is to depart to other European countries, while a small number, mainly families, have already left.
Interior Minister Socratis Hasikos had said last week that the Syrian refugees have been granted temporary residence permits and that they are entitled to travel to other countries provided that they get all the required visas and that in the case they don’t apply for visas for the countries they intend to travel to, they will be sent back to Cyprus.
To facilitate their movement to and from Kokkinotrimithia, a bus departs from the barracks every morning and returns at night.
The refugees had sailed from Syria and were headed to Italy when they found themselves in rough seas and put out a distress signal.
They initially refused to disembark the cruise ship that rescued them 50 nautical miles off the coast of Paphos on September 25 and insisted they be taken to Italy. Many said they wanted to go to Sweden, Germany, Holland and Denmark.