Cyprus police detain 40 Syrian migrants after boat arrival

December 9, 2018 GMT

NICOSIA, Cyprus (AP) — Cyprus police say they have detained 40 Syrian migrants after a boat dropped them off along the ethnically split island nation’s northwestern coast.

Police said Sunday authorities had initially located the boat about 25 kilometers (15 miles) off the island’s coast late Saturday. The migrants, including two women and a child, set out from Mersin, Turkey.

The migrants disembarked in the country’s breakaway Turkish Cypriot north before crossing on foot to the internationally recognized southern part where they were found by police near the northwestern village of Pyrgos.

Police said all 40 people have been taken to a reception center on Nicosia’s outskirts for processing.

Cyprus says a recent spike in migrant arrivals has turned the tiny country into the EU’s top destination for asylum-seekers per capita.