The government seems set on expanding the controversial barbed wire being erected along stretches of the buffer zone with works set to begin in Athienou.

Wire fencing and metal gates have already been installed along stretches of the Green Line near Astromeritis, Akaki and Peristerona – dividing public opinion.

The interior ministry insists that the barriers are necessary to curb illegal migration, which largely passes through the Green Line, and has argued that it does not constitute a border.

Critics, however, have claimed that it promotes partition while locals have said it burdens their freedom of movement.

The barriers to be erected in Athienou will be placed along the village’s outskirts, according to daily Phileleftheros, as the community is in a very sensitive area. Much of the village is located officially within the buffer zone.

The government is under pressure to address the increasing rates of migration, as 21,000 asylum seekers filed applications in 2022.

Elsewhere, the government has also sought to monitor the 180km-long buffer zone by employing 300 officers. It is understood that the 401 candidates will go through physical training tests next week.

Another tool touted as being key to curbing illegal migration and smuggling is the “all-seeing” surveillance system to soon be deployed along the buffer zone.

The defence minister explained last year that Cyprus procured the surveillance system from Israel at a cost of about €28m.