Cyprus rescues 114 Syrian refugees

Nicosia, Sep 6 (IANS) Authorities rescued 114 Syrian refugees, including 30 children and five infants, from a fishing boat drifting off the shores of Cyprus, officials said on Sunday.

An official statement said an overnight rescue operation was carried out after a cargo ship alerted the Cypriot Search and Rescue Centre on Saturday night that it had received a signal from the drifting fishing boat seeking help, Xinhua news agency reported.

It added that aircraft and vessels of the Cypriot navy and police took part in the operation, which was completed early Sunday morning.

The Syrians were brought to the southeastern port city of Larnaca and were received by medical teams and social welfare workers.

“All necessary measures are being taken for the welfare of the refugees in line with European Union directives,” said Interior Minister Socrates Hasikos, who headed the operation.

Sources said that the police are questioning three people for suspected human trafficking, with one of them thought to be the captain of the boat.

Some refugees said they paid over $4,000 each to be taken to Europe.

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