By AFP – Nov 21,2018 – JORDAN TIMES
Migrants in orange lifejackets approach the Cypriot coast on a lifeboat on an undisclosed date (File photo courtesy of Kathimerini Cyprus)
NICOSIA — Cypriot authorities said on Wednesday that 47 Syrian migrants had been found on the island’s northwestern tip after being dropped off by suspected people smugglers.
Police said they believed the migrants had arrived by sea from Turkey in the early hours of Wednesday, but there was no sign of a boat when officers arrived.
A pregnant woman who was among the migrants was taken to nearby Paphos Hospital for medical checks.
The migrants were taken to a reception centre in the capital Nicosia later on Wednesday.
Over the past 12 months a steady trickle of Syrian migrants have arrived in Cyprus, the European Union’s most easterly state, from Turkey and Lebanon.
Cyprus has warned Brussels it faces growing pressure from increasing irregular migration.
EU data earlier this year showed it had received more asylum applications per capita than any of the bloc’s other 28 nations.
Cypriot Interior Minister Constantinos Petrides said Nicosia received 4,022 asylum requests in the first eight months of 2018 — 55 per cent more than in the same period last year.
But despite lying just 160 kilometres from the coast of war-torn Syria, Cyprus has not seen the massive inflow of migrants experienced by Turkey and Greece.