More Than 300 Syrian Refugees Rescued, Arrive in Cyprus

A woman holds her child outside the Kokkinotrimithia refugee camp outside Nicosia, Cyprus September 10, 2017. REUTERS/Yiannis Kourtoglou
A woman holds her child outside the Kokkinotrimithia refugee camp outside Nicosia, Cyprus September 10, 2017. REUTERS/Yiannis Kourtoglou
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More Than 300 Syrian Refugees Rescued, Arrive in Cyprus

A woman holds her child outside the Kokkinotrimithia refugee camp outside Nicosia, Cyprus September 10, 2017. REUTERS/Yiannis Kourtoglou
A woman holds her child outside the Kokkinotrimithia refugee camp outside Nicosia, Cyprus September 10, 2017. REUTERS/Yiannis Kourtoglou

Two boats crowded with 305 Syrian refugees arrived in Cyprus overnight, police said on Sunday, one of the largest group landings of migrants to the island since the outbreak of the Syrian war in 2011.

The vessels were tracked sailing to the north-west of the island and were thought to have set off from the Turkish coastal city of Mersin.

“For their safety they were towed to harbor,” a police spokesman said. One of the vessels had been taking in water, the spokesman added.

Cyprus is the closest European Union member state to Syria, yet many fleeing conflict have largely avoided the island because it has no direct easy access to the rest of the continent.

The single largest group arrival since the Syrian conflict started was 345 people who were rescued in September 2014.

Police said they were questioning a 36-year-old Syrian man believed to have been steering one of the vessels. The others would be taken to a reception center west of the capital, Nicosia.

The Syrians, who included many minors, appeared in good health. A woman and her infant were taken to hospital for precautionary reasons, the spokesman added.



UN Palestinian Agency Seeks Pushback against Israel's Effort to Disband it 

A Palestinian child navigates through heavy damage to a UNRWA school sheltering displaced persons the day after a nearby house was targeted by Israeli bombardment in Khan Younis, southern Gaza Strip, Friday, June 21, 2024. (AP)
A Palestinian child navigates through heavy damage to a UNRWA school sheltering displaced persons the day after a nearby house was targeted by Israeli bombardment in Khan Younis, southern Gaza Strip, Friday, June 21, 2024. (AP)
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UN Palestinian Agency Seeks Pushback against Israel's Effort to Disband it 

A Palestinian child navigates through heavy damage to a UNRWA school sheltering displaced persons the day after a nearby house was targeted by Israeli bombardment in Khan Younis, southern Gaza Strip, Friday, June 21, 2024. (AP)
A Palestinian child navigates through heavy damage to a UNRWA school sheltering displaced persons the day after a nearby house was targeted by Israeli bombardment in Khan Younis, southern Gaza Strip, Friday, June 21, 2024. (AP)

The head of the United Nations Palestinian refugee agency (UNRWA) on Monday called to push back against efforts by Israel to have the organization disbanded.

"Israel has long been critical of the agency's mandate. But it now seeks to end UNRWA's operations, dismissing the agency's status as a United Nations entity supported by an overwhelming majority of Member States," UNRWA chief Philippe Lazzarini said at a meeting of the agency's advisory commission.

"If we do not push back, other UN entities and international organizations will be next, further undermining our multilateral system."