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May 30, 2017 – UNHCR is appealing for urgent safe passage and admission for a group of Syrian refugees stranded in dire circumstances on the Algerian-Moroccan border.

Deeply concerned about rapidly deteriorating conditions for this group of vulnerable Syrian refugees, UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, 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.

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. We urge Algeria and Morocco to work with us on ending this dangerous and untenable situation for these stranded desperate Syrian refugees.

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The forty-one Syrian refugees have been stranded on the remote Algeria – Morocco border since 17 April 2017. Both Algeria and Morocco consider the group not to be in their respective territory, however, UNHCR calls for action to bring the group to safety on humanitarian grounds and stands ready to offer its ‘good offices’ to coordinate this life-saving evacuation.

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.