Rights groups slam 'shameful' Russia deportation of Syrian refugees

25th February 2016, Comments 0 comments

Russia was set to deport three Syrian refugees on Thursday back to Damascus from a Moscow airport, rights activists said, in a move condemned as "shameful" by Amnesty International.

"One has just called... they are being held under guard, under police escort," head of the migrant rights group The Civic Assistance Committee, told AFP around 1500 GMT.

The three men could face deportation this evening on a flight back to Damascus from Moscow's Vnukovo airport, she added.

Mikhail Fedotov, the head of the Kremlin's human rights council, was "trying to help" after she appealed to him over the case.

Amnesty International in a statement condemned "Russia's shameful approach to people in need of international protection".

The men have been flown to Moscow from a detention centre in Makhachkala in Dagestan in the North Caucasus, The Civic Assistance Committee said.

The men all come from the devastated city of Aleppo and sought asylum in Russia.

The UNHCR has appealed to Russia's federal migration service not to deport the men.

A European Court of Human Rights ruling on Wednesday banned Russia from deporting one of the men. Russia on the same day refused asylum applications from the other two.

Russia launched a bombing campaign in support of the troops of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in September.

Russia takes in very few refugees from any war-torn country.

Last month the head of the Federal Migration Service Konstantin Romodanovsky said that 1,000 Syrians applied for temporary asylum last year and there are currently just over 7,000 Syrians living in Russia.

Temporary asylum is for one year but can be extended.

© 2016 AFP

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