Algeria has agreed to take in the Syrian refugees trapped since mid-April in a desert area that borders neighboring Morocco, a foreign ministry spokesman said on Thursday.
In a statement issued on Thursday, the Algerian ministry spokesman, Abdelaziz Benali Cherif, said Algeria will take in the refugees as an “exceptional humanitarian gesture.”
The 41 refugees will be housed and fed and if they wish be reunited with family members in a third country, the spokesman added.
The decision came two days after the UN refugee agency said the plight of the refugees, who include a pregnant woman, was “untenable”, urging Algeria and Morocco to work for a solution.
The decision was also prompted by calls by the Syrian Coalition and rights activists on the Algerian and Moroccan governments to work on addressing the plight of the Syrian refugees.
Vice-president of the Syrian Coalition Salwa Aksoy said that the Coalition contacted the government of the two countries and provided them with information on the numbers of refugees stranded at the borders.
Aksoy pointed that the Coalition has also stepped up its moves and contacted the Moroccan Minister of Humanitarian Affairs and appealed to the King of Morocco to help the refugees.
The Coalition is following up with the Algerian authorities to ascertain the situation of the Syrian refugees, Aksoy said. She expressed the hope that the Arab countries will offer concrete support for the struggle of the Syrian people to achieve freedom and dignity.
Algerian rights activists Anouar Malik praised Algeria’s decision to receive the Syrian refugees. “I welcome the decision of the Algerian authorities to take in the Syrian refugees stranded in Morocco near the Algerian border after great efforts had been made in this regard,” Malik said in comments posted on Twitter Thursday. (Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Department + Agencies)