Syrian refugees who arrived in Cyprus last week were deported by Turkish Cypriot authorities after spending several days in detention.
According to Turkish Cypriot media in the north, 33 Syrian males aged between 20 and 40, were detained last week after reaching the island by boat. Additional reports said two males were actually 16 years old.
The vessel reportedly left Mersin in Turkey and was heading for the island when it was intercepted by officials north of Limnitis/Yesilırmak.
Local activists criticised authorities saying the men fled their country to seek a better future but ended up in a 'humanitarian nightmare'
Additional reports said the captain of the vessel managed to get away before Turkish Cypriot officers reached the boat, which was reportedly having mechanical problems.
Local media said the men were detained for several days, and were taken to Famagusta port on Sunday to be deported under the escort of a dozen police officers.
Local activists criticised authorities for deporting the Syrian men, Turkish Cypriot teachers union KTOS issuing a statement condemning the decision.
KTOS said the men fled their country to seek a better future and they all ended up in a “humanitarian nightmare”.
The union also pointed out refugees who reach the Republic of Cyprus in the south can seek asylum and stay at migrant camp facilities.