Newsroom / CNA
The Cyprus Police have carried out a new operation to dismantle one more immigrant smuggling network and have arrested four people.
According to CNA sources, the operation was carried out on the basis of information evaluated within the framework of an information exchange group which was established following instructions by the Minister of the Interior. The group, which consists of representatives of the Ministry of the Interior and competent police departments, aims to review immigration policy issues and prevent migratory flows by sea.
It is noted that the persons arrested were of Syrian origin, and it seems that they were acting as collaborators in a network of migrant smuggling in Cyprus and other countries.
According to the same sources, it appears that they were operating by sea in the area of Famagusta as well as in the area of Cavo Greco and they were mainly smuggling people of Syrian origin.
Asked by CNA to comment on the issue, Minister of the Interior Constantinos Ioannou confirmed the CNA information, saying that Police continue their investigation into the four arrested persons, who appear to be part of a ring operating in the Southern Mediterranean.
Ioannou stressed that dismantling of illegal immigrant networks is one of the main orientations of the government to address illegal immigration. Ioannou noted that traffickers' rings are taking advantage of human suffering and force migrants to attempt dangerous journeys with inappropriate means, putting their lives in danger.
Recently, another smuggling ring had been dismantled with the arrest of six more people, who were brought to justice, while the arrest of an additional six people from the same ring is pending. The first ring -for which there have been arrests at the end of August -is, according to information, different from the one for which arrests were made today. The first ring seems to have had a wider range and operated by sea both in the area of the Southern Mediterranean and through Turkey.
Immigration data for 2023 are better compared to last year, since asylum applications have dropped to around 50% compared to the previous year, while returns of third-country nationals to their countries of origin have greatly increased as a result of the measures and actions taken. Asylum applications between March - August 2022 reached 11,961 while applications from March - August 2023 dropped to 5,866.