Turkey is taking some of the pressure off tiny Cyprus, as a first stop for those fleeing war-torn Lebanon. It has opened its Mediterranean port of Mersin to new arrivals. Some have mixed feelings about leaving Lebanon behind. “I do feel I am playing Israel’s game by leaving because the spirit is that, once the foreigners have gone, then they will do the real cleaning and bomb anywhere,” said one Canadian citizen.
In the first large-scale arrival of US nationals in Turkey since the evacuation began, over 1,000 Americans were carried to safety on board the USS Trenton, one of the biggest ships involved in the operation. Many were being taken to a US military airbase to be flown home. Turkey has stepped in to relieve some of the strain on Cyprus, whose limited facilities have been severely stretched. The holiday island has appealed to its European Union partners to provide more help, although there are signs now that the mass evacuation from Lebanon may finally be levelling off.