A boat carrying 58 presumptive refugees including women and children was pushed back by Cypriot authorities, after a standstill ended when marine police received instructions from land to escort the vessel back to Lebanon.
According to the Cyprus News Agency, a boat with undocumented migrants was spotted on Thursday some 20 nautical miles off Cape Greco on the eastern part of the island.
After the boat was spotted Thursday afternoon around 5:30pm, according to Famagusta police press officer Andreas Constantinou, a coast guard vessel approached the boat that was carrying dozens of men, women, and children.
Nicosia coordinates with Beirut to stop refugees fleeing to Cyprus, but Lebanon, which has not signed the Geneva Convention of refugees, has said it is not big enough to host many refugees
Constantinou also told CNA that the boat remained at its spotted location until further instructions from land could be relayed to the coast guard.
A report on Friday said the boat was ordered to turn back, following consultation with Lebanese authorities, with Constantinou telling CNA that marine police offered the boat food and necessary supplies for a trip back to Lebanon.
The refugee boat - carrying 32 men, 8 women, and 18 children - started sailing back to Lebanon with Cypriot police escort.
European officials recently criticized the Cypriot government over its controversial pushback policy, with many groups and agencies accusing the Republic of violating law and international conventions.
Last summer, Nicosia sent a team to Beirut to help authorities stop refugees in the neighboring country from fleeing towards the island, after Cyprus said it was not prepared to host more refugees.
But Lebanon, a country which has not signed the Geneva Convention on refugees, has also in the past said it was not a country big enough to host many refugees.
In early June, Lebanese media said over a dozen Syrian nationals, described as refugees including women and children pushed back in Cyprus, were expelled by authorities in Beirut.