World Bulletin / News Desk
Cyprus police rescued 123 migrants believed to be Syrians who were left adrift off the island's northwest coast by a boatman who made off on a jet ski, officials said Thursday.
Police said they were still checking identity papers but at least nine of the migrants had previously been deported from Cyprus.
Police believe that the boat, which was spotted off the coast on Wednesday, had set sail from the Turkish port of Mersin.
The migrants said they had paid $2,200 a head to be brought to the island, the state-run CNA news agency said.
EU member Cyprus lies just 100 kilometres (60 miles) off the Syrian coast but has so far avoided a mass influx of refugees from that country's conflict like that passing through the Balkans to Western Europe.
However, there has been an increase in people smuggling from Turkey in recent months. In October, 83 Syrian migrants were rescued in similar circumstances.Last Mod: 10 Kasım 2016, 16:36