More than 300 Syrian migrants stopped at western Black Sea of Turkey
NICOSIA - Anadolu Agency
AP photoMore than 300 Syrian migrants fleeing from their war-torn country have been stopped by Turkish Coast Guard crews in the west of the Black Sea while attempting to cross into European countries, state-run Anadolu Agency reported on Sept. 11.
Coast guard crews stopped an unnamed fishing boat carrying 93 Syrians and one Afghan in the Black Sea near Istanbul.
Officials stated that one Turkish citizen was detained for human trafficking.
Turkish officials also stated that Turkish Coast Guard boats quelled two different migration attempts in the Black Sea late on Sept. 10.
A boat carrying 68 Syrians, two Iranians and a Turkish citizen, who was reportedly a human trafficker, had been stopped in the Black Sea off eastern Bulgaria.
Meanwhile, another fishing boat carrying 149 Syrian migrants and two Ukrainians were stopped by Turkish Coast Guards in the Black Sea off eastern Romania.
The migrants and suspects were transferred to a police station in the western province of Kırklareli.
Moreover, Greek Cypriot police detained a 36-year-old man on Sept. 10 for allegedly driving one of two boats that brought 305 Syrian refugees to the island’s northwestern coast.
Another 29-year-old man was also taken into custody on suspicion of migrant trafficking.
Police spokesman Michalis Ioannou said the 202 men, 30 women and 73 children arrived about midnight in what is thought to be the largest number of migrants to reach the island in a single day. He said they departed from the southern province of Mersin on Sept. 9.
The passengers reported paying up to $2,000 each to smugglers for the trip. Some with relatives in Greek Cyprus have expressed a desire to remain, while others want to go to Germany or Scandinavia.
Among those waiting for the migrants at a reception center in Nicosia was Ammar Hammasho. The 35-year-old Syrian said he felt both joy and relief at seeing his four small children and wife behind the center’s chain-link fence after fearing for their safety during the trip.
Hammasho came to the island a year ago from the Syrian city of Idlib where he said his home was destroyed by airstrikes that killed one of his children.
“It’s getting worse,” Hammasho told The Associated Press.
“Everyone on either side is telling their own lies.”
Turkey and the European Union signed a deal in March 2016 to curb the flow of migrants to Greek islands on the Aegean Sea.
A million people crossed the sea in the year before the agreement, with hundreds drowning along the way.