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Italy: Scores of 'Syrians' rescued from migrant boat

last update: April 30, 12:34

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Rome, 30 April (AKI) - Italian coastguard late Monday rescued a boat off the Sicilian coast with 78 people aboard who claim to be Syrian.

The 35 men and 44 boys were all reported to be in good health. An aerial patrol had spotted their boat adrift off the eastern Sicilian coastal city of Syracuse and a coastguard vessel towed it into port.

The migrants were transferred to a local migrant holding centre for health and identity checks.

Early on Tuesday, 15 migrants reached the southern coastal city of Crotone in Italy's Calabria region, 12 of whom were detained. Their nationalities were unknown.

The United Nations refugee agency UNHCR said in March that over a million people had fled the civil war in Syria, putting strain on host countries in the region.

UN High Commissioner for Refugees Antonio Guterres said Syria was "spiralling towards full-scale disaster," and urged nations to pledge funds urgently.

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