Algeria has barred all Syrians from entering the country through its southern border with Mali and Niger "to prevent the infiltration of the Syrian opposition factions and armed terrorists", the Algerian interior ministry announced yesterday.
Local media quoted Hassen Kacimi, the ministry's official in charge of migration policy, as saying that the Syrian opposition groups "posed a security threat to Algeria", adding that they were transferred from Turkey using "forged passports".
"Syrians who seek to enter Algeria through the southern borders are suspected of being Islamists and extremists and are not welcome," Kacimi said.
"We [Algeria] have hosted 50,000 Syrians in the past few years for humanitarian reasons," he noted, stressing that "when it comes to our security", Algeria "cannot accept members of armed groups fleeing from Syria."
"Definitely this is criminal network and we [Algeria] have to be highly vigilant to prevent their infiltration to Algeria," Kacimi warned.
Algeria has maintained diplomatic relations with the Syrian regime throughout the country's eight-year civil war. Syrians do not need visas to enter Algeria.
According to the Algerian League for the Defence of Human Rights (LADDH), authorities deported about 50 Syrian and Palestinian refugees last week.