Moroccan authorities have refused to extradite an estimated 42 Syrian refugees who have been stranded for the last two months between the Algeria and Morocco border, to an Algerian delegation following Algeria’s decision to accept them.
Last month, the United Nations refugee agency UNHCR urged Morocco and Algeria to allow the group safe passage after they had been trapped for weeks in a dispute between the North African neighbours.
The Algerian delegation, which was supposed to meet with Moroccan authorities at the border today to finalise the move, was comprised of Algerian authorities and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and was accompanied by the Red Crescent, representatives of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees and the International Committee of the Red Cross.
The delegation reportedly arrived at the border expecting to receive the Syrian refugees but was met with refusals from Moroccan authorities to extradite them and or to give any information whether they would be deported to another destination or voluntarily moved.
Representatives of the international missions have been in Algeria to observe whether the facilities are adequate for the country to receive the refugees. Medical and psychological staff was also provided to inspect the health of the individuals who have spent weeks in the Moroccan desert deprived of nutrition and medical care.