Dozens injured in fight at overcrowded migrant camp on Cyprus

Over two dozen migrants were injured when a brawl broke out between nationals from Syria and African countries in an overcrowded migrant camp on the outskirts of Nicosia, Euronews reported on Tuesday.

A total of 25 people who suffered injuries received medical attention and have since returned to camp, Interior Ministry spokesman Loizos Michael said.

Cypriot police are conducting an investigation into the cause of the hours-long brawl, which shattered windowpanes, leaving beds and other equipment smashed and damaged a section of the camp’s fencing, Euronews said.

Over the last three years, Cyprus has registered a spike in asylum seekers, with the divided island becoming a temporary haven for refugees looking to enter Europe, prompting Nicosia to request further help from the EU.

Around 1,500 migrants occupy the 1,000-capacity camp where the melee broke out, according to Michael, with 600 placed under quarantine due to COVID-19 outbreak prevention protocols.

A number of the migrants said they had been “forced” by Turkish authorities to come to Cyprus, Michael added, noting Turkey was behind a campaign seeking to  “alter’’ the demographic makeup of  Cyprus.

Turkey, home to about 3.7 million Syrian refugees, is also a popular crossing point for migrants and asylum seekers seeking to reach Europe via Greek islands.

Cyprus has been divided since Turkey invaded the northern third of the island in 1974 in response a Greek Cypriot coup that sought unification with Greece. Turkey is the only country which recognises Northern Cyprus.