Cyprus Mail

27 refugees land in Cyprus off Pyrgos coast (update 2)

Twenty seven Syrian refugees from Aleppo arrived in Cyprus off the north-western coast of Pyrgos Tyllirias on Tuesday afternoon.

The boat carrying them from Turkey was spotted on police radar shortly after noon some 3.5 miles off the coast of Kokkina in rough seas and was tugged to shore at the Latchi port by a port police patrol boat.

According to the refugees, it had left Mersin, Turkey, at 11pm on Monday.

Aboard were 16 men, six women, of whom one is pregnant, and five children.

As a precaution, the pregnant woman along with two mothers with babies in their arms were taken to Polis Chrysochous hospital.

The refugees were submitted to medical checks at the Polis Chrysochous police station, where they were due to spend the night before being transferred to the Kokkinotrimithia reception centre.

Questioned after landing in Cyprus, they said the owner of the boat – a Turk – left aboard a jet-ski shortly before approaching the Cyprus shore.

Reports said the boat’s engine had failed, at which point the smuggler abandoned the refugees.

Before the boat made it to Latchi, Syrian people living and working in Cyprus arrived at the scene, waiting for its arrival.

One of them told the state broadcaster that his fiancé, as well as other friends and relatives, were on the boat.

They all hail from Aleppo, he added, and have sold all their belongings so they could embark on the “journey to freedom”, at €2,000 per head.

Police continue investigations for the identities of the owner of the boat and the smuggler.

“As dangerous as the trip from Turkey is, the one from Syria to the Turkish shores is even more dangerous,” he said.

Last month, over 100 refugees arrived in the same area, and another 83 were rescued in October after their boat’s motor died.

In three separate instances late last summer, some 85 Syrians had also landed in Cyprus through Turkey, claiming to be Syrian refugees fleeing the war.

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