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UN calls on Algeria, Morocco to help stranded Syrian refugees

May 31, 2017 at 2:45 pm

Syrian refugees in Morocco hold up a banner asking for basic rights including access to medical care and aid on 12 May, 2017 [Masr Al-Arabiya]

The United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) yesterday urged Algeria and Morocco to assure safe passage to the dozens of Syrian refugees who are stranded along the border between the two countries.

According to an official statement by the agency, 41 Syrian refugees have been stuck at the border since 17 April. The group includes “children, babies and women – including at least one pregnant woman reportedly in need of urgent Caesarean section,” the statement said.

There is a sense of urgency in this matter and we call on both governments to take instant and constructive steps to uphold international humanitarian imperatives and evacuate this vulnerable group

the UNHCR statement stressed.

“We urge Algeria and Morocco to work with us on ending this dangerous and untenable situation for these stranded desperate Syrian refugees,” the agency added, stressing that it was “ready to offer its ‘good offices’ to coordinate this life-saving evacuation.”

Read: Trapped Syrian refugees risk death in the African desert

Last month, the Moroccan government accused Algeria of expelling the refugees through the border town of Figuig to “sow trouble” and “generate an uncontrollable flow of migrants”. Algeria “categorically” rejected the accusations.

Human Rights Watch (HRW) recently reported that Morocco had breached its international commitment towards the Syrian refugees after it expelled some 50 Syrians from its territory. The Moroccan government has responded confirming that some 5,000 Syrians have gone through a migration regulatory process, with several hundred receiving refugee status.