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Assessment begins for 140 refugees who landed in Cyprus

As assessment programme has begun to determine what should happen to around 140 refugees who washed ashore at an RAF base in Cyprus.

Two boats landed around 7am, at which point the base - classed as UK sovereign soil - was put on lockdown.

ITV News correspondent Emma Murphy reports from the scene:

She said that some of the refugees - who came from Syria, Iraq and Libya - managed to make their own way to the beach, while others had to be helped out of the water.

An operation was put into place by the military to ensure everyone made it safety to shore.

Pictures show refugees after arrival at Cyprus RAF base

Crowds of refugees on the beach at RAF Akrotiri. Credit: MOD

New pictures show scenes at an RAF base in Cyprus after the arrival of 140 refugees on boats.

RAF servicemen help with the arrivals. Credit: MOD

As the pictures were released, the Ministry of Defence (MOD) said its "key priority is ensuring everybody on board is safe and well".

The MOD says the Cypriot authorities are responsible in such circumstances. Credit: MOD

There have so far been no reports of any injuries or fatalities among the arrivals.

An RAF servicemen talks to people on the beach. Credit: MOD

The British government has an agreement with Cyprus to ensure the Cypriot authorities "take responsibility in circumstances like this", the MOD said.

Refugees held in hangar after arrival at Cyprus RAF base

The refugees that arrived by boat at RAF Akrotiri in Cyprus are now being held in a hangar at the base, ITV News understands.

The site is where British planes dock in between bomb attacks on Islamic State targets in Iraq.

While the ministry initially said four boats had arrived at the base, that number was later corrected to two.


Refugee boats land at British RAF base in Cyprus

RAF Akrotiri is British sovereign soil. Credit: Google Maps

Four boats carrying refugees have for the first time directly landed on UK sovereign soil at a British military base on Cyprus.

The boats spotted in the early morning hours off RAF Akrotiri, a sprawling military facility on the southern coast of Cyprus used to bomb Islamic State targets in northern Iraq.

As ITV News Correspondent Emma Murphy reports, a deal with Cyprus means refugees are unable to claim UK asylum at the base, despite it belonging to Britain.

The authorities said it remains unclear how many migrants landed, but but two boats were carrying about 140 people, before another two boats arrived.

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