Nicosia, October 21, 2015/Independent Balkan News Agency
By Kyriacos Kyriacou
A total of 114 persons claiming to be Syrian refugees have arrived at British Royal Air force Base in Cyprus, among which are many women and children.
A press release from the UN Refugee Agency notes that they are reported to be in good health while the agency is waiting for detailed information and access to the military barracks to visit the refugees.
“A total of 114 persons claiming to be Syrian refugees have reportedly arrived in the early morning hours at Cape Gata at the south-eastern peninsula of Akrotiri, located within the British Sovereign Base Areas (SBA). They arrived by two separate 13-metre wooden boats. No rescue operation was necessitated as there was no distress signal prior to their docking”, the UNHCR says.
It adds that “many women and children are reported to be among the group” and that “all arrivals reported to be in good health”.
“UNHCR is still waiting to receive detailed information from either the SBA or the Ministry of Interior of the Republic of Cyprus. UNHCR has not been able to visit the refugees because access to the military barracks would require authorisation from the SBA which we are yet to receive”, it says.
Furthermore, the UNHCR says “we understand that since this morning high level meetings have been underway in both the SBA and the Republic” and notes that it “has contacted both the SBA and the Ministry of Interior to offer support”.
“Under the terms of the 2003 MoU signed between the Republic of Cyprus and the UK, asylum seekers arriving directly onto the SBA are the responsibility of the UK but they would be granted access to services in the Republic at the cost of the SBA”, it concludes.