Thursday

25th Aug 2016

Cyprus worried about potential Syrian refugees

The incoming Cypriot EU presidency is worried that Syrian refugees could arrive en masse in the island-nation and in the EU more broadly if the conflict gets worse.

Cyprus, located around 170 km west of Syria, is drawing up plans in case Syrian boat refugees arrive on its coast, a Cypriot source told this website.

Dear EUobserver reader

Subscribe now for unrestricted access to EUobserver.

Sign up for 30 days' free trial, no obligation. Full subscription only 15 € / month or 150 € / year.

  1. Unlimited access on desktop and mobile
  2. All premium articles, analysis, commentary and investigations
  3. EUobserver archives

EUobserver is the only independent news media covering EU affairs in Brussels and all 28 member states.

♡ We value your support.

If you already have an account click here to login.

  • Cyprus is preparing plans for the possible arrival of Syrian refugees on its coast (Photo: European Commission)

Syrian refugees have so far made their way across land borders to Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq and Turkey.

The UN estimates that there were 43,000 of them registered as of April in the four countries, with another 12,000-or-so unregistered people also displaced in the region.

Turkey, which shares a 900-km-long border with Syria, has over half of all registered refugees stationed mostly in camps in the Hatay province.

Few Syrians have sought asylum in the EU so far. Around 700 filed for protection at EU airports in 2011. About 1,200 Syrian migrants were detected attempting to cross land borders last year according to the EU's border control agency, Frontex.

The weekend massacre in Houla in western Syria on Friday (25 May) has raised concerns many more could come in future.

Over 100 people were killed, including 49 children and 34 women, when government forces shelled the village. Reports indicate that government-controlled militia, or "shabiha," later went from house to house killing people by hand.

Last year's Arab Spring uprisings saw 25,000 Tunisian migrants arrive on the small Italian island of Lampedusa, even though the Tunisian revolution was mostly peaceful.

The island was unprepared for the influx. Many of the Tunisians had to sleep rough, while others tried to go France, but were forced back to Italy.

The scenario of another refugee crisis could further complicate prospects of finalising the EU's Common European Asylum System (Ceas), due before the end the year.

Ceas is high on the EU Cypriot presidency's agenda and the Cypriot source added that "solidarity and effectiveness" will be needed to finalise it.

But a draft regulation and a directive on asylum are currently stuck in the council, with the Danish EU presidency hoping to find a middle-ground among dissenting member states before July.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. HuaweiMaking Cities Smarter and Safer
  2. GoogleHow Google Makes Connections More Secure For Users
  3. EGBAThe EU Court of Justice Confirms the Application of Proportionality in Assessing Gambling Laws
  4. World VisionThe EU and Member States Must Not Use Overseas Aid for Promoting EU Interests
  5. Dialogue PlatformInterview: "There is a witch hunt against the Gulen Movement in Turkey"
  6. ACCAACCA Calls for ‘Future Looking’ Integrated Reporting Culture With IIRC and IAAER
  7. EURidNominate Your Favourite .eu or .ею Website for the .EU Web Awards 2016 Today!
  8. Dialogue PlatformAn Interview on Gulen Movement & Recent Coup Attempt in Turkey
  9. GoogleA Little Bird Told us to Start Tweeting About Google’s Work Across Europe. Learn More @GoogleBrussels
  10. Counter BalanceThe Trans Adriatic Pipeline: An Opportunity or a Scam in the Making for Albania?
  11. Counter BalanceThe Investment Plan for Europe: Business as Usual or True Innovation ?
  12. Belgrade Security ForumMigration, Security and Solidarity within Global Disorder: Academic Event 2016