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Syrians fleeing war deported from Lebanon after EU-Turkey deal

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Issue 2486
Refugees crossing the Aegean Sea from Turkey to Greece. EU chiefs say their numbers are way too high
Refugees crossing the Aegean Sea from Turkey to Greece. EU chiefs say their numbers are “way too high” (Pic: Guy Smallman)

Over 250 refugees were deported from Beirut airport in Lebanon to Syria on Friday of last week.

Amnesty International slammed the Lebanese government for putting refugees in “mortal danger”. But much of the blame lies with David Cameron.

The trigger was new rules introduced by the Turkish government that stopped refugees travelling to Turkey.

As of last Friday any Syrians arriving in Turkey by air and sea must have visas first or be turned back. Previously they could stay in the country visa-free for up to 90 days.

Turkey has been clamping down on Syrian refugees as part of a deal with the European Union (EU) last November.

This commits it to “stemming the influx of irregular migrants”.

Cameron and German chancellor Angela Merkel were among those who pushed hardest for the deal, with Britain the first government to pledge funding.

Despite thousands of arrests and deportations, EU vice president Frans Timmermans warned Turkey on Monday of this week that much more was needed.

He said that refugee numbers were still “way too high” and that “we cannot be satisfied at this stage”.

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