NICOSIA – Cyprus’ Foreign Minister says heightened security measures have in the last year thwarted at least 10 people from using the ethnically divided island as a way station to Syria.
Ioannis Kasoulides said the 10 individuals who included British, French and Australian nationals have been deported.
He said the measures aim to prevent potential Jihadis from using Cyprus as a springboard to Turkey from where they head to neighboring Syria or use the island as a gateway back into Europe.
Cyprus lies around 100 miles (160 kilometers) off Syria’s Mediterranean coast.
Cypriot authorities and foreign officials have voiced concern that Europeans and other third-country nationals could travel to Cyprus, cross into the island’s unrecognized, breakaway Turkih Cypriot north and then head to Syria from there.