Cyprus escorts 61 Syrian refugees safely to shore

Cypriot authorities have safely escorted a boat carrying 61 Syrian refugees to shore after spotting it off the coast of the Mediterranean island. (AFP)
Updated 14 June 2018
0

Cyprus escorts 61 Syrian refugees safely to shore

  • One woman and 60 males, including seven children, were transferred to a reception centre outside the capital Nicosia on Thursday after medical checks.
  • Arrivals said they had paid smugglers $2,000 (1,700 euros) each to board the boat from Turkey's coast.

NICOSIA: Cypriot authorities have safely escorted a boat carrying 61 Syrian refugees to shore after spotting it off the coast of the Mediterranean island, they said Thursday.
The vessel was intercepted late Wednesday evening off the island's northwestern coast after embarking from Turkey, police said.
One woman and 60 males, including seven children, were transferred to a reception centre outside the capital Nicosia on Thursday after medical checks, authorities said.
Police cited arrivals saying they had paid smugglers $2,000 (1,700 euros) each to board the boat from Turkey's coast.
Police added that they had arrested a 49-year-old man on suspicion of smuggling after he was seen jumping from the boat.
Cyprus, a popular holiday island some 160 kilometres (100 miles) from Syria's coast, has not seen the massive inflow of migrants experienced by Turkey, Greece and Italy.
But the European Union member has called on Brussels to act, as asylum requests in the first nine months of 2017 rose eightfold on the same period of the previous year, to 818.
EU data ranks Cyprus fourth among the bloc's 28 nations in terms of asylum applications per capita.


Afghan Taliban frown at militants’ Eid cease-fire selfies

Updated 42 min 31 sec ago
0

Afghan Taliban frown at militants’ Eid cease-fire selfies

  • Both the Afghan government and the militants declared temporary cease-fires for the end-of-Ramadan Eid Al-Fitr holiday
  • The Taliban cease-fire ended on Sunday. The government extended its cease-fire with the Taliban, which had been due to end on Wednesday, June 20, by 10 days

PESHAWAR, Pakistan: The Afghan Taliban are angry at their members swapping selfies with soldiers and government officials during their three-day cease-fire, a senior Taliban official said on Monday, after the militants roamed at will through cities before the truce ended.
Speaking on condition of anonymity, the Taliban official also said Pakistan had wanted the Taliban to include US and other foreign troops in the cease-fire, but the Taliban’s leadership and supreme commander, ‎Sheikh Haibatullah Akhunzada, did not agree.
“Last night, an emergency meeting was called and all the commanders were informed and directed to take strict disciplinary action against all those Taliban members who visited citizens and took pictures with the Afghan authorities,” he told Reuters.
Some Taliban seen taking selfies w‎ith Afghan government forces and officials had been warned, the Taliban official said.
Both the Afghan government and the militants declared temporary cease-fires for the end-of-Ramadan Eid Al-Fitr holiday, leading to fraternization between the two sides as militants emerged from their hideouts to enter towns and cities.
The government cease-fire did not include the Islamic State militant group and the Taliban did not include US-led foreign forces in theirs.
The Taliban cease-fire ended on Sunday. The government extended its cease-fire with the Taliban, which had been due to end on Wednesday, June 20, by 10 days.
Another Taliban commander, also speaking on condition of anonymity, said that some attacks had been planned in the southern Afghan province of Helmand where short clashes were reported, according to the spokesman for the Helmand governor.
Anti-war activists set off on a peace march last month, spending the fasting month crossing harsh, sun-baked countryside en route to Kabul where they arrived on Monday, their numbers swelling and ebbing at different points along the route.
Abdul Rahman Mangal, spokesman for the Maidan Wardak provincial government, next to Kabul, said the Taliban attacked two security checkpoints in the Saidabad district in the early hours of Monday which “left casualties.”
Clashes were also reported in Faryab in the northwest and Laghman, to the east of Kabul, and Nangarhar, on the border with Pakistan and the scene of two bomb blasts over the weekend, one of which was claimed by Islamic State.
While many war-weary Afghans welcomed the cease-fires and the fraternization between the combatants, some have criticized the government cease-fire, which allowed the Taliban to flow into cities, though the militants said they were withdrawing.
The Taliban are fighting US-led NATO forces combined under the Resolute Support mission, and Ghani’s US-backed government to restore sharia, or Islamic law, after their ouster by US-led forces in 2001.
But Afghanistan has been at war for four decades, ever since the Soviet invasion in 1979.