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Cyprus returns over 3,000 migrants in four months

frontex member on patrol with the greek on greco turkish border
File photo: Frontex member on patrol

Cyprus has returned over 3,000 migrants in the first four months of 2024 alone, almost a thousand more than all returns the year before, statistics on Monday showed.

Interior Minister Constantinos Ioannou disclosed the statistics in a post on X, revealing that Cyprus completed 3,337 migrant returns so far in 2024, compared to 2,348 returns in the entirety of 2023.

Meanwhile, in data from Frontex, the European border force, arrivals along the Eastern Mediterranean route, which directly effects Cyprus, have risen by 109 per cent.

Frontex said: “The Eastern Mediterranean edged out the Western African route as the most active path into the EU for irregular migrants in the first quarter, with the number of detections more than doubling to just above 13,700.”

According to the information, the main nationalities of individuals arriving along the Eastern Mediterranean route were Syrian, Afghan, and Egyptian.

Frontex added: “Sea crossings remain extremely dangerous for the people undertaking irregular migration.”

Data from the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) indicates that 476 people have been reported missing in the Mediterranean so far this year. The vast majority of them were navigating the perilous Central Mediterranean route.

On Sunday, a second migrant boat with 22 people arrived in Cyprus, following the arrival of another late Friday night.

Since then and following a few weeks of consistent flows, the government announced that it would no longer be examining asylum applications from Syrians, and deny them access to stipends, opting instead to keep them in established migrant facilities.

The influx of migrants via sea routes has been particularly pronounced, with over 1,000 arrivals from Lebanon since the beginning of April and more than 2,000 arrivals recorded by sea in the first three months of this year, compared to just 78 over the same period in 2023.

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