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Cyprus suspends asylum applications for Syrians as arrivals rise | Migration News [Video]

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Middle East Breaking News

Cyprus has suspended the processing of asylum applications from Syrians following a sharp increase in arrivals this month, authorities say.

More than 1,000 people have arrived in Cyprus on boats from Lebanon this month amid deepening tensions in the Middle East.

The exodus has triggered calls from Nicosia to its European Union partners to do more to assist Lebanon, as well as reconsider the status of war-torn Syria, which is at present considered unsafe to repatriate asylum seekers.

“This is an emergency measure, it’s a difficult decision to protect the interests of Cyprus,” Cypriot President Nikos Christodoulides told reporters on Sunday.

Cyprus, the EU’s easternmost state and the closest to the Middle East, lies about 160km (100 miles) west of the shores of Lebanon or Syria.

It recorded more than 2,000 arrivals by sea in the first three months this year, compared with just 78 over the same period in 2023.

In practice, the measure means asylum seekers …

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