Migrant flows from Syria intensifies

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Another boat carrying nearly 40 migrants from war-torn Syria was found in the sea area off Cape Greco in Ayia Napa, confirming concerns over rising arrivals from the neighbouring country by sea.

According to police, a wooden seven-metre boat carrying 37 people, including six women and three children, was located by a coastguard patrol.

Two of the people on board were arrested as they were identified as people smugglers. The two men, aged 33 and 31, were remanded in custody on Thursday for four days.

The rest of those onboard the boat were transferred to the Pournara Reception Centre in Kokkinotrimithia outside Nicosia.

The latest arrivals signal fears over an increase in migrant arrivals by sea.

Earlier this month, authorities said that despite reports that migrant flows through the Turkish-occupied north are decreasing, arrivals by sea are rising.

A 60% increase was recorded in the first five months compared to last year.

According to the Aliens and Immigration Unit, most irregular migrants arriving by sea come on boats from Syria and are usually located off Cape Greco.

Data from the authority, provided to Phileleftheros daily, reveal that since the start of the year, some 396 migrants arrived by boats from Syria, including 41 women and 89 children on 19 boats (nine in May alone).

In the same period last year, 246 migrants from Syria arrived on 14 boats.

Quoting the deputy commander of the immigration unit, Petros Zenios, Phileleftheros said the majority of migrants arrive on small wooden boats.

According to Zenios, all boats depart from areas of the Syrian city of Tartus, with the fare ranging from $2,000 to $6,000 for each migrant.