A 37-year-old Syrian living in Cyprus has been arrested on suspicion he was collaborating with traffickers, following an all-night operation in Tylliria where nine people were apprehended.
The men in custody are all Syrian suspected of entering Cyprus through an illegal point of entry near Kato Pyrgos, after fleeing their war-torn homeland and coming to the south of the island on a boat directly from Mersin, Turkey.
Authorities were still searching on Wednesday for another six people, reportedly women and children, who were seen being driven away just before officers could arrive.
Four of the nine men are undocumented migrants according to media reports, believed to have been in Cyprus in the past and got deported by the government.
The rest of the men have expressed intent to apply for asylum and were expected to be transported to Kofinou migrant facility.
One of the nine arrested was identified as the person who helped arrange the journey with a trafficker, believed to be a Turkish national and who still remains at large.
The man under arrest slipped and fell while attempting to flee the police and is undergoing hospital treatment for a broken leg. A second man amongst the nine is also being treated in hospital after he fell ill.
According to state radio, some of the nine speak fluent Greek and reportedly used to work in Cyprus in the past. It is believed that the women and children were picked up by a previous acquaintance or even family member already settled in Cyprus.