35 Syrian refugees in Egypt start a hunger strike to protest their detention

An activist doctor in Egypt says 35 detained Syrian refugees are on a hunger strike to protest their captivity in the Mediterranean city of Alexandria.

Taher Mokhtar, a member of the Alexandria doctors' syndicate, said the refugees he visited in a police station on Saturday demanded to be released or to be granted asylum in Europe. Mokhtar said they started the hunger strike on Friday.

An official from the United Nations Refugee Agency in Egypt, Mohamed Dayri, said authorities currently detain 128 Syrian refugees who tried to travel illegally to Europe through the Mediterranean Sea. Dayri said they usually are held until they buy a ticket to leave Egypt.

Syrian refugees complain of difficult living conditions in Egypt after some were accused of supporting ousted Islamist President Mohammed Morsi.