NICOSIA, Feb. 4 (Xinhua) -- A boat carrying 93 people from Syria, many of them children under 17, arrived in northwestern Cyprus overnight after a perilous trip from Turkey, Cypriot authorities said on Saturday.
"They were in a bad shape and very wet," said Nicos Cleanthous, the community president of Kato Pyrgos, the nearest village to the point the refugees arrived.
The authorities said 34 of the refugees are men, 17 women and 42 children. And three of the men had been expelled from Cyprus in the past and will be deported again.
Cleanthous said the boat was spotted at about midnight 8 nautical miles off the coast and was helped by a patrol boat into a local fishing harbor.
This was the first such incident so far this year, after five boatloads of Syrian refugees arrived last year in the same area, which is the closest to the Turkish coast.
Interior Minister Socrates Hasikos said the Cypriot government is worried that Turkish authorities will dump hundreds of Syrians who have gathered in Mersin.
He said that friction between Turkey and Greece which climaxed over the decision of Greece's top court not to allow extradition of eight Turkish officers who fled after last June's failed coup.
"I am afraid that Turkey is bent on turning its internal problems into foreign policy which is manifested by aggressive policies against Greece and Cyprus," Hasikos said.
Turkey occupied a sizeable part of Cyprus in 1974 in reaction to a coup inspired by the military rulers of Greece.
Hasikos said Cypriot authorities know the identity of the Turkish human trafficker behind the flow of Syrian refugees into Cyprus. The trafficker usually charges 2,000 U.S. dollars for each refugee.
Syrian refugees sailing from Turkish southern ports choose to head for southern Greek Cypriot side, which is recognized by the international community and is a member of the European Union.