Joint Cyprus police and army patrols are being deployed along the ceasefire line to counter an “unprecedented” influx of migrants crossing from the breakaway north.
Interior Minister Nicos Nouris said the 24-hour patrols began on Monday in Nicosia on a trial basis. He said the tighter security measures would be evaluated at the end of January 2020 to review its effectiveness.
Police officers are accompanying National Guard soldiers on patrols because military personnel aren’t authorised to detain civilians.
Additional, nightly patrols by elite police units will also be deployed to display a visible show of security to the public.
Nouris said the safety of the capital was the first step and the next phase would be speeding up processes in reducing the wait for asylum decisions.
Cyprus is first in the EU for the number of new asylum claims per inhabitant.
The 180-kilometer-long, UN-controlled buffer zone is narrowest in Nicosia and has become a relatively porous entry point into the Republic from the Turkish-held north.