Two boats carrying around 270 mainly Syrian asylum seekers landed on Italian shores on Monday, the latest of thousands of refugees fleeing the war-torn country to arrive in Italy, officials said.
The first boat carrying 150 people -- all of them believed to be Syrian -- arrived on the tiny island of Vendicari, just off Sicily, early on Monday.
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The second vessel had 120 people on board, including 28 women and 50 minors. They came from Egypt, the Palestinian Territories and Syria.
A third boat with 270 migrants issued a distress call via satellite phone, saying the vessel was adrift and a pregnant woman on board was in labour.
More than 22,000 migrants have landed on the coast of southern Italy so far this year -- nearly three times the total number for all of 2012 -- including many Eritreans, Somalis and Syrians.