Wed, September 19, 2012

Iraq reopens border crossing point for Syrian refugees

2012-09-19 09:35:29 GMT2012-09-19 17:35:29(Beijing Time)  Xinhua English

RAMADI, Iraq, Sept. 19 (Xinhua) -- The Iraqi government reopened a border crossing point with Syria to receive refugees looking to flee their country's ongoing violence, an Iraqi official said on Wednesday.

"The border crossing point near the city of al-Qaim was reopened at about 6:30 p.m. local time (1530 GMT) Tuesday for one hour," the mayor of al-Qaim Farhan Ftikhan told Xinhua by telephone.

Ftikhan said that the Iraqi side received 100 Syrian refugees from women, children and elderly, as some of them were disabled or injured.

The Iraqi decision did not include the Syrian young men from the age of 15 and above for security reasons, he said, adding that the crossing point will receive more refugees in the coming days.

"The crossing will be allowed during the daylight hours only," the mayor said.

The border crossing border point in al-Qaim, some 330 km west of Baghdad, was closed by the Iraqi side in mid August after the rebels opposed to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad took over the Syrian side of the crossing point in July. Iraq has an around 600-km borderline with Syria and two bordering provinces of Anbar and Nineveh. The border crossings had witnessed closure in history when crises intensified on either side.

Syria has been wrecked by bombings and violence against civilians since March 2011, when anti-government protests began. The unrest has claimed the lives of thousands of people, including large numbers of security forces.


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