Syrian refugees arrive in the Greek island of Kos after crossing the Mediterranean from Turkey. Photo: ARA News

ARA News 

GENEVA – The United Nations refugee agency (UNHCR) said that more than half a million refugees and migrants have crossed the Mediterranean to Europe so far this year.

The agency added in a statement on Tuesday that around 383,000 of the migrants and refugees who crossed Mediterranean this year have arrived in Greece.

More than 2,980 people have disappeared while trying to reach the European shore this year, according to the UNHCR. 

The agency revealed that some 515,000 crossed the Mediterranean to Europe since January 1, adding that 54% of them were Syrians who fled their war-torn country. 

“Syrian nationals made up 71 percent of arrivals in Greece,” the agency said. 

More than four million people have been forced to leave Syria over the past four years of war, while at least seven million others have been internally displaced.

Reporting by: Lorin Silo

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