Refugee boats wash ashore at British military base in Cyprus

Two boatloads of refugees wash ashore at British military base in Cyprus, authorities say

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

Migrants crowd an inflatable dinghy in the Mediterranean Sea off Italy's coast.

Updated Oct 22, 2015

Boats carrying approximately 140 refugees including women and children arrived early in the morning at RAF Akrotiri, a sovereign British military base on the southern coast of the Greek Cypriot Administration of Southern Cyprus (GCASC).

The refugees have been transferred to a temporary reception area at the base.


A spokesman for the Britain's Ministry of Defence at first said that four boats had arrived at the base but later said the number was two.

"I believe it is more than a hundred, but there is no confirmation of the exact number at the moment," the spokesman said. He said it was not clear where the refugees travelled from but a police official told local media that the refugees were believed to have come from Syria.

He added, "At the moment the first priority is to make sure everyone is safe and well before decisions are taken on what’s going to happen to them. We don’t know full numbers. It is happening as we speak so details are still coming in."

According to local media, George Kiteos, the head of police at the sovereign base area said, "The number of persons has been counted and recorded. The boats were carrying over 100 persons."

He also added, "They have received first aid and they all appear to be in good health. We have already alerted all the other necessary services. They appear to have come from nearby Syria.”

The status of refugees on the British bases is not clear. They still host a small number of Iraqi Kurds who landed on fishing boats in 1998 and are effectively stateless.

TRTWorld and agencies