Cyprus launches rescue mission for 300 people stranded at sea

Cyprus launches rescue mission for 300 people stranded at sea

PanARMENIAN.Net - Cyprus has launched a rescue mission for 300 people, thought to be Syrian refugees, stranded off the island's west coast, BBC News reports.

Most of the people on the small fishing boat are believed to be women and children. They were spotted 55 nautical miles (100km) south of the resort town of Paphos. Helicopters are at the scene.

Cypriot authorities said they picked up a radio distress signal as the boat was caught in rough seas.

This year has seen a dramatic increase in the number of migrants crossing the Mediterranean in overcrowded boats - particularly people fleeing the conflict in Syria. The majority have headed for Italy and Malta.

Libya, racked by unrest and lawlessness, has become a major people-trafficking hub. However, Cyprus lies closer to Syria.

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