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25 June, 2024
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Syrian refugees await fate off Cypriot coast

Police escort children and pregnant women for medical treatment but no decision yet on what’s next


Refugees including children and pregnant women stepped on Cypriot soil for medical treatment on Thursday night, while dozens of their fellow travelers were stuck on a boat waiting on an interior ministry verdict that will decide their future.

According to local media, a wooden boat carrying 49 undocumented migrants from Syria and Lebanon heading for Italy was intercepted by the Cypriot coast guard on Thursday, some six nautical miles off the coast of Paphos.

At least 47 people were rescued in late April after their boat capsized off the coast of Tripoli, with survivors saying the Lebanese navy had caused the accident by ramming into their vessel

Reports said the boat had left Lebanon on July 4 and was intercepted on Thursday morning around 8am, with authorities scrambling to determine whether the presumptive refugees would be allowed to disembark on the island, continue their trip to Italy, or pushed back to Lebanon.

But Thursday night, according to additional report, two pregnant women and a number of children were allowed to step on land, where police escorted the group to eht Emergency Room.

In late April a boat carrying more than 60 undocumented travelers capsized off the coast of Tripoli, with at least 47 people being rescued while seven bodied had been recovered.

Survivors at the time had accused the Lebanese navy of ramming into their boat and causing the accident.

A controversial agreement between Nicosia and Beirut provides for Syrian refugees to be pushed back if they came from Lebanon.

Last week another boat carrying 100 refugees was said to be en route to Italy after a brief humanitarian stop in Cyprus, with unconfirmed reports saying a couple expecting a baby had stayed behind to seek medical assistance.

Cyprus  |  Lebanon  |  Syria  |  migration  |  refugee  |  asylum  |  Italy  |  medical treatment  |  pushback  |  hospital  |  interior ministry  |  boat

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