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IERAPETRA, Greece – Nearly 600 men, women and children, mostly refugees from Syria, have been temporarily put up in the southern Cretan town of Ierapetra, where they arrived in a crippled smuggling ship after more than a week at sea.
Red Cross volunteers issued warm meals and clothing Friday, while authorities are trying to establish which of the migrants are Syrians, who qualify for refugee status. These will be allowed to leave a basketball arena where all the migrants are kept under police guard, with the option of unrestricted travel.
Officials say about two-thirds of the migrants are Syrians. There were 80 children, 150 women and 361 men on the 77-meter (250-foot) Baris freighter, which was towed to Ierapetra Thursday, two days after losing engine power off Crete.