More than 100 migrants arrive in Cyprus in span of 12 hours

Athens, Apr. 16, (dpa/GNA) – Dozens of migrants have arrived by sea in the EU island republic of Cyprus.

Two boats with 73 and 37 people on board arrived within 12 hours, Cypriot radio RIK reported on Tuesday, citing the Ministry of the Interior. The majority of them are said to be from Syria and had set off from Lebanon. Two men were arrested as suspected people smugglers.

The RIK report said 19 boats with around 1,100 people on board have arrived in Cyprus since the beginning of the month. The Cypriot government fears the situation could deteriorate further if hostilities in the Middle East escalate.

The reception and registration centres on the island are already overcrowded, and the government suspended the processing of asylum applications from Syrians indefinitely on April 14.    

More than 4,000 migrants and refugees have arrived in Cyprus since the beginning of the year, with only 78 arriving in the first quarter of 2023. This means that Cyprus has by far the highest number of asylum applications in the EU in relation to its population.  GNA