World Bulletin/News Desk
Egypt's coastguard arrested 81 Palestinian and Syrian nationals for allegedly attempting to immigrate to Italy illegally, a security source said Monday.
"The navy has arrested 81 people – 25 Syrians and 56 Palestinians – along with three Egyptians and a four-strong boat crew for trying to immigrate to Italy illegally," the source told the Anadolu Agency.
Among the would-be immigrants were 18 women and 13 children, the source added.
Life has not been easy for Syrians in Egypt since the July 3 ouster of President Mohamed Morsi by the powerful military.
Under Morsi, Egypt's first democratically elected president, Syrians were allowed to enter the country without any visa requirements.
Shortly after Morsi's ouster, however, authorities began requiring Syrians to obtain paid visas and prior security clearance.
Local media, meanwhile, fanned public resentment towards the Palestinian and Syrian communities in Egypt, accusing them of supporting ongoing pro-Morsi rallies.
Last month, Human Rights Watch said Egyptian police had arrested over 81 Syrian nationals, including children, many of whom were threatened with deportation.
Last week, a high-ranking Egyptian security official, requesting anonymity, said the crackdown had been "prompted by specific legal violations, such as a lack of residence permits, posing threats to Egyptian national security or involvement in illegal activities."
Thousands of Syrians have taken refuge in neighboring countries since the regime of President Bashar Al-Assad began cracking down on anti-regime protests in March 2011. Since then, activists say that more than 100,000 people have been killed in the ongoing conflict.
The UN refugee agency (UNHCR) in Egypt has said it has registered – or is in the process of registering – some 90,000 Syrian refugees.Last Mod: 12 Ağustos 2013, 17:21