In English

Cyprus is experiencing a state of emergency due to the influx of Syrian migrants and is requesting European Union assistance

Cyprus announced that it is witnessing a state of emergency due to its exposure to a daily wave of Syrian migrants seeking asylum, appealing to the European Union to help it.

“This week, Cyprus witnessed a daily wave of immigrants arriving by sea from the port of Tartus, which is under the authority of the Assad regime,” said Cypriot Interior Minister Nikos Norris.

Norris added, “Due to this situation and overcrowding in reception centers, I was forced to send a written statement to the European Commission.”
The statement sent to the UNHCR stated that Cyprus is entering a state of emergency with regard to immigration, and that it no longer has the capabilities to receive more migrants, as about 4 thousand asylum applications have been rejected since the beginning of the year.

The Cypriot statement called on the European Union to assist in the return of people whose asylum applications are rejected in cases related to countries with which Nicosia does not have bilateral relations, such as Turkey, which in turn does not recognize the Romanian Republic of Cyprus.

Last Wednesday, the Cypriot authorities intercepted a boat off the eastern coast of the island carrying 97 migrants who had come from Syria, and announced on Friday that 14 people coming from Syria, including 3 children, had crossed to its lands from the northern part of the island.

Over the last four years, the percentage of asylum seekers in Cyprus reached 4% of its population, compared to 1% in other countries of the European Union.

Since 2011, more than 12,000 Syrians have sought asylum in Cyprus, and 8,500 of them have been granted international protection status, according to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.

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