Cyprus police rescue more than 120 stranded refugees

10.11.2016 - Cyprus - PressTV

Police in Cyprus have rescued more than 120 refugees who were left afloat on a boat off the island’s northwestern coast.

There were 42 children, 19 women and 62 men abroad the boat, which was towed by Cypriot rescue workers to the Latchi harbor, a civil defense statement said on Thursday.

The refugees believed to be Syrian nationals are all in good health, according to the statement.

Cypriot police said they were still checking the identity papers of the passengers, but noted that at least nine of the refugees had previously been deported from Cyprus.

The boatman, who left the 123 refugees adrift, reportedly made off on a jet ski.

Police believe that the boat, which was spotted off the coast on Wednesday, had set sail from the Turkish port of Mersin.

The human smuggler(s) obtained $2,200 per person for bringing the refugees to the island, the state-run CNA news agency reported.

EU member Cyprus lies about 100 kilometers (60 miles) off the Syrian coast.

In October, however, 83 Syrian refugees were rescued in similar circumstances.

There has been a huge decline in the number of people smuggled to the European Union from Turkey in recent months.

The decline came after the EU in March signed a controversial deal with Turkey aimed at stemming the flow of refugees passing through the Balkans by forcing those deported from the EU to either be relocated in Turkey, or return to their country of origin.

Categories: Europe, Human Rights
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