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Syrian and Palestinian migrants land in southern Italy

27 luglio 2015 | 13.24
LETTURA: 1 minuti

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Fifty-three Syrian and Palestinian migrants, including 25 women and 14 children reached the southern Italian port city of Reggio Calabria on Monday aboard an Italian patrol boat.

They were the latest of tens of thousands to land in Italy this year as the Mediterranean migrant crisis continues.

Italy and Greece are the main entry points for Europe-bound asylum seekers, most of whom are fleeing conflict and persecution in Africa, the Middle East and Asia.

Over 160,000 migrants have reached Greece and Italy by boat this year, while over 1,900 have drowned in the Mediterranean, twice the toll during the same period last year.

Italian authorities have arrested dozens of suspected people smugglers this year and in mid-May European Union foreign and defence ministers approved a new Italian-led naval mission in the Mediterranean against the criminal gangs smuggling migrants to Europe.

On 19 April, EU leaders agreed to boost sea patrols in the Mediterranean and tripled the funding to the bloc's Trident border mission after up to 900 migrants were believed to have died in a shipwreck 80 nautical miles north of Libya.

But critics say the Trident mission's mandate prevents it from getting close enough to Libyan waters, where most migrant deaths occur.

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