Egypt turns back flights from Syria after tighter visa rule

July 12, 2013 22:14

CAIRO - Egypt has turned back several flights carrying hundreds of Syrians after tightening visa rules following the toppling of President Mohamed Morsi, the UN refugee agency said on Friday.

Egypt this week introduced visa requirements for Syrians after local media accused Syrian Islamists of joining deadly clashes between Morsi's supporters and the army who had ousted him. They previously only needed a passport to enter Egypt.Hundreds of thousands of Syrians have fled a conflict pitting forces loyal to President Bashar Assad against insurgents, which has killed an estimated 100,000 people and driven 1.7 million abroad.

UNHCR spokeswoman Melissa Fleming said Egyptian authorities had refused permission for several flights from Damascus and the Syrian coastal city Latakia - one with 250 Syrians on board - to land. Syrians landing on flights from other countries were deported upon arrival at Cairo airport.

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