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Syria-Turkey: UN steps into refugee row

Syria-Turkey: UN steps into refugee row
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The United Nations has expressed concern over reports that up to 600 Syrian refugees were thrown out of a relief camp in Turkey and deported.

Officials at the site, near Akcakale, say the deportations took place. But the Turkish government denies that anyone has been forced to return to Syria.

Melissa Fleming, the Chief Spokeswoman for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) warned: “Deportations to Syria would be, if they occurred, against the principles of international law.”

Fleming continued: “We do remind refugees that they have a responsibility to abide by the law in Turkey. And the system of Turkish law in dealing with crimes that are committed should be used and we are encouraging that.”

The reports of deportations followed unrest at the camp on March 27. Refugees threw stones and damaged administrative buildings. Police used tear gas and water cannon to break up the crowds.

Some residents said the protest erupted when a faulty power line caused a fire in one of the tents. It injured three teenagers – one of whom later died in hospital.