Morocco summons Algerian envoy over Syrian refugees


Morocco summoned Algeria’s ambassador to express concern after 54 Syrians attempted to “illegally enter” the country from Algeria, the ministry of foreign affairs said in a statement.

It said 54 Syrians attempted to enter Morocco through the border town of Figuig between April 17 and 19. It accused Algeria of forcing them to cross into Morocco.
“Algeria must assume political responsibility and morality concerning this situation,” the ministry statement on MAP state news agency said.
“It is immoral and unethical to manipulate the moral and physical distress of these people and to sow trouble in the Morocco-Algerian border.”

There was no immediate response from Algeria on state news agency APS.

Some 5,000 Syrians have gone through a migration regulatory process in Morocco, with several hundred receiving refugee status, according to Morocco’s ministry of foreign affairs.

Morocco and Algeria share a 1,500 km land border running from the Mediterranean Sea to the Sahara Desert which has been closed since 1994.

The North African neighbours had a contentious relationship since independence from France. Border disputes triggered an armed conflict in the 1960s known as the “Sand War”.

One of the biggest disputes has been over Western Sahara, a former Spanish colony, most of which Morocco annexed in 1975. Algeria supports and hosts the Western Saharan independence movement Polisario, a stance angering Morocco.