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For nearly 600 migrants, most of them fleeing the conflict in Syria for Europe, the harrowing journey on a smuggling ship that broke down in gale-force winds ended Thursday in the southern town of Ierapetra on the Greek island of Crete.According to Greek security and health officials, about 500 of the migrants said they were Syrians.According to the latest figures from the U.N. refugee agency, UNHCR, at least 3,000 people have drowned or disappeared trying to make the trip this year – almost 2 percent of the estimated total of 165,000 to attempt the journey. The 77-meter cargo ship lost power the same day Pope Francis called on European governments to do a better job of welcoming migrants in speeches to the European Parliament and Council of Europe. Efstathiou said the Syrians will receive refugee status and be released, while other passengers deemed to be in Greece illegally will be interned pending deportation.A UNHCR spokeswoman in Athens said more than 99 percent of Syrians reaching Greece eventually gain refugee status in a lengthy and cumbersome process.
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