A pregnant woman who reached Cyprus on a refugee boat last month has given birth to a boy, while the rest of her family and other passengers who were pushed back to Lebanon were said to be facing deportation to Syria.
According to local media, a female refugee described as Syrian national filed for asylum in the Republic of Cyprus after reaching the island on August 22 along with 87 other undocumented passengers presumed to be refugees from Syria.
The woman’s husband and two young children were among the undocumented travelers who were pushed back to Lebanon by Cypriot authorities after two refugee boats were intercepted several miles off the island’s southeastern coast, one in Cape Greco and the other in Paralimni.
The new mother has been in contact with her detained husband in Lebanon, where he is facing deportation back to Syria if Cyprus rejects their family reunification claim
Local media said the pregnant woman was the only one left behind before all others, including her husband and two kids, were ferried back to Lebanon under Cypriot police escort. According to the Cyprus News Agency, she was transported to Famagusta General Hospital where she went into labor, giving birth to a healthy baby boy.
A vessel chartered in Ayia Napa transported the other would-be asylum seekers to Lebanon based on a controversial agreement between Beirut and Nicosia. Reports said one passenger on the pushback route was airlifted to Nicosia General Hospital for medical reasons and later booked into the Pournara migrant camp.
Initial reports also said five passengers on one of the two refugee boats had jumped in the water at the sight of marine police, with three of them later grabbing onto flotation devices thrown by coast guard officers. The fourth man who refused to get out of the water or receive help was finally retrieved by officers.
But the whereabouts of a fifth male remained unknown. Fellow passengers have reportedly dismissed speculation that their fellow traveler would have made it safely back to land, citing a long distance of several kilometers to shore. Local reports said the man still missing was said to have had snorkeling fins and swimming goggles with him.
According to Philenews, the new mother has been in contact with her detained husband in Lebanon, where he is facing deportation back to Syria if Cyprus rejects their family reunification claim.