Interior Minister Constantinos Ioannou is set to visit other European countries to continue promoting Cyprus’ effort to reassess Syria’s status and get some areas of the country classified as safe, he said on Wednesday.

Ioannou was visiting the Joint Rescue Coordination Centre (JRCC) in Larnaca, where he said that Cyprus is promoting that some areas of Syria be designated safe, so that there is an option of returning migrants arriving in the country to those areas.

Commenting on migrant arrivals by sea, Ioannou said: “This number is constantly changing and there is a big increase compared to last year’s flows by sea.”

He added that the arrivals by sea have increased substantially since October 7, 2023.

“As you know, while we have managed to reduce and almost eliminate migrant flows through the Green Line, we have unfortunately seen a large increase in arrivals by sea since October 7, 2023 and the war in Gaza,” Ioannou said.

He added that, considering the danger and the condition of the boats used by the smugglers, the role and readiness of the JRCC to deal with possible search and rescue scenarios is important.

Ioannou said he was satisfied with the “high degree of preparation for dealing with potential man-made and natural crises”.

Equally important, he said, is “the necessary coordination of the departments or ministries involved that are called upon to manage a crisis”.