Cyprus declared on Monday that it will send a team to Lebanon to support authorities to cease boats transporting migrants from war-torn Syria in direction to the Mediterranean island after many recent tries.
Interior Minister Nicos Nouris declared that officials from different services will visit Lebanon to deal in the best and most effective way with this phenomenon.
It should be noted that Cyprus, with only 160 km (100 miles) from the coast of Lebanon, is so near that the huge explosion that destroyed Beirut on August 4 was heard on the island, while Syria is even closer.
Furthermore, and after at least five boats transporting almost 150 migrants were detected near to the coast of the tourist island by authorities in recent days, Cyprus is on warning and the interior ministry carried out an emergency gathering about the situation on Monday. It was reported that many of them were Syrians, and Lebanese, while certain themes were permitted to debark, but others were sent back. Cypriot authorities allowed a boat to take a group back to Lebanon with companions.
In fact, Lebanon that hosts a million Syrian refugees was previously suffering from its most serious economic crisis in decades before the huge explosion in Beirut’s port, and the close Nicosia worries becoming an attractive place for those fleeing from a political and economic crisis. Actually, European Union member Cyprus and Lebanon have a send back accord to discourage migrants. Otherwise, Cyprus complained for any time that it is on the frontline of the Mediterranean migration road, with the presence of EU’s highest number of first-time.
Nouris declared that reception services are full: We are no longer able to receive additional numbers of economic migrants simply. Nouris lauded last week the approval of parliament to reduce the time that migrants can appeal refused refuge applications from 75 to 15 days.
The interior ministry reported that since the migrant Balkans route from Turkey to central Europe was blocked in 2015, asylum applications in Cyprus have soared – from 2,253 that year, to 13,648 in 2019. A spokesperson for the UN refugee agency in Cyprus informed AFP: Any person on a boat who seeks asylum should be admitted at least on a temporary basis to examine the claim.