(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE SAUDI NEWS AGENCY ASHARQ AL-AWSAT)
The Moroccan Interior Ministry accused Algerian authorities of deporting 55 Syrians, including women and children, towards the kingdom as Rabat summoned the Algerian envoy over the development.
The ministry statement said that the Algerian authorities have “cornered” the refugees nears the border city of Figuig.
The Moroccan authorities “condemned these inhumane actions by the Algerian authorities against these refugees, especially when it comes to women and children who are in a fragile state.”
It questioned how the authorities in the neighboring country have not catered to the displaced and instead forced them towards Moroccan soil.
The development has forced Morocco to summon Algeria’s ambassador to express concern after the Syrians attempted to “illegally enter” the country from Algeria, the ministry of foreign affairs said in a statement on Sunday.
It said 54 Syrians attempted to enter Morocco through the border town of Figuig, an area surrounded by mountains, 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 (970 mile) land border that runs from the Mediterranean Sea to the Sahara Desert which has been shut since 1994.
The North African neighbors have had a contentious relationship since independence from France. Border disputes triggered an armed conflict in the 1960s known as the “Sand War”.
One of their 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 which angers Morocco.