10 refugees arrive on Cypriot coasts from Syria in inflatable boat

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NICOSIA, Aug. 11 (Xinhua) — Ten refugees arrived in Cyprus overnight in an inflatable boat after making the 200-kilometer sea crossing from Syria, police said on Saturday.

This was the first time Syrians arrived in Cyprus by sea directly from Syria, as other groups who arrived on the eastern Mediterranean island before had fled to Turkey and then traveled in boats provided by people traffickers.

The ten were a family of five and a family of four, along with a man, who declined to be hosted either to a refugee center or a hotel, saying they had arranged to stay with relatives who have been in Cyprus for years.

The police said they scrambled on Friday night after radar picked up a boat sailing off the southeastern Cavo Greco cape, a sensitive area as it is very near the sea line dividing the government controlled region of Cyprus from the Turkish occupied part of the island.

The boat was spotted some hours later off the popular sea resort of Protaras and policemen on a patrol boat helped the ten people ashore.

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