HEADLINES: Refugees

Published On: Donate

Turkey has closed its border with Syria to commercial traffic, but the United Nations’ refugee agency said the border would remain open to those fleeing the conflict in Syria and that hundreds of people had made their way to safety in the past 24 hours. Turkish customs officials announced they were closing the 566-mile border on Wednesday after the seizure of two crossing points by Syrian rebel forces last week. At one crossing point, Bab al-Hawa, dozens of Turkish trucks were burned or looted when the rebels seized control. Wednesday’s decision, which Turkish officials said affects three border posts still open at Cilvegozu, Oncupinar and Karkamis, coincided with an upsurge in fighting between government and rebel forces in Aleppo, about 30 miles from Bab al-Hawa. [NYTimes]

Officials said Wednesday that some 850 people lost their belongings in a fire that swept through the refugee barracks in the suburb of Konik, Montenegro. It remains unclear what caused the fire that erupted early Tuesday and spread quickly because of strong winds, says emergency official Radomir Scepanovic. He said a police investigation was under way. There was no indication it was a hate crime similar to those that sometimes target Roma in other Balkan countries and elsewhere in Europe. They accuse authorities of doing little to help them in the past years, and several dozen refugees gathered Wednesday in front of the U.N. refugee agency headquarters in the Montenegro capital to protest. He said Montenegro has about 10,500 people who are either refugees or are internally displaced. [Associated Press]

The UN refugee agency has moved some 4,000 Sudanese from the waterlogged and overcrowded Jammam refugee camp in South Sudan’s Upper Nile state to a site some 50 kilometres away that is already nearing its maximum capacity. Aid agencies decided it was best to move most refugees from Jammam because of fears for their welfare amid worsening living conditions and a lack of potable water. Torrential rain and several massive influxes had exacerbated the dire situation. Upper Nile state is currently home to more than 100,000 refugees while Unity hosts nearly 60,000. [Reuters]

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