Nicosia: A boat carrying 270 Syrian refugees trying to reach Europe was towed to the Turkish controlled northern coast of Cyprus after drifting for several hours.
The rescue operation took place overnight between Saturday and Sunday, reported Xinhua citing a Turkish Cyprus media release.
According to the statement, the boat left the Turkish port of Mersin for Italy, a favorite destination of most illegal immigrants from the Middle East.
The authorities controlling northern Cyprus did not comment on the reports.
Reports said the Syrian refugees, including 30 children, were initially taken into an indoor stadium.
Most of the refugees were returned to Turkey Sunday but 10 were left behind to be treated at a hospital.
The reports said the crew abandoned the boat which was left drifting off the Cypriot coast.
In September, Cypriot authorities saved 340 people from Syria after their boat met rough seas off the coast of the island.