The United Nations refugee agency (UNHCR) has urged Algeria and Morocco to allow safe passage to 41 Syrian refugees stranded “in dire circumstances” along the border between the two countries. The Syrian refugees have been stranded at the closed border for nearly 23 days.
In a press release issued on Tuesday, the UNHCR said that it was “deeply concerned about rapidly deteriorating conditions for this group of vulnerable Syrian refugees.”
“UNHCR called today on the two countries to urgently address humanitarian needs, facilitate access to these refugees and allow them admission to safety and/or reunification with their families,” UNHCR said.
“Prompt action by both governments is needed in facilitating the immediate and safe passage of the forty-one vulnerable Syrian refugees, among them children, babies and women – including at least one pregnant woman reportedly in need of urgent Caesarean section. It is a matter of life and death for this woman and her unborn child.”
“Moreover, the entire group of refugees is exposed to the elements and the serious threat of scorpions and snakes prevalent in this remote area,” UNHCR added.
The agency urged Algeria and Morocco “to work with us on ending this dangerous and untenable situation for these stranded desperate Syrian refugees.”
UNHCR stressed it “stands ready to offer its ‘good offices’ to coordinate this life-saving evacuation.”
Last week, Moroccan and Algerian rights watchdogs denounced the catastrophic situation in which entire Syrian families survive in the zone between the two borders around the area of Figuig (in Morocco) and Beni Ounif (in Algeria).
The groups called on the two governments to help the refugees, stressing that the plight of those trapped “is serious enough for the authorities of the two countries to speak at a table to find a solution.” (Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Department + Agencies)