Bulgarian border police arrested 10 Syrians and a Turkish citizen accompanying them after the group was spotted attempting an illegal border crossing from Turkey into Bulgaria, the Interior Ministry in Sofia said on August 23 2012.
The Syrians had said that their intended destination was Western Europe, the ministry said.
The Syrians were being held in custody and a pre-trial investigation into illegal border crossing charges had been initiated, the Interior Ministry said. The Turkish citizen would face charges of people trafficking.
The previous day, border police had detained four Syrians, a family with two children, near the village of Krainovo, the Interior Ministry said.
Syria, caught up in the struggle to oust president Bashar al-Assad, is in a worsening humanitarian crisis and large numbers of refugees have fled the Middle Eastern state.
On August 22, United Nations humanitarian chief appealed to the international community to increase its funding to help 2.5 million Syrians who are in urgent need of basic services such as shelter, food, health care, water and sanitation.
“The humanitarian situation has worsened since my visit in March,” the UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Co-ordinator, Valerie Amos, told reporters at UN Headquarters in New York, adding that lack of access to those in need and insufficient funding are hampering efforts by UN agencies and their partners to provide assistance, the UN News Service said.
On August 17, the United Nations refugee agency said that the humanitarian crisis generated by the ongoing Syrian conflict was rapidly growing as refugees from the Middle Eastern country continue to flee the ongoing violence and spill over into neighbouring areas.
According to the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the amount of registered refugees seeking sanctuary in Lebanon, Turkey, Jordan and Iraq had grown by more than 12 000 by that date – increasing from 157 577 to 170 116 in just the previous three days.
The UN News Service said that agency had noted, however, that the real number of refugees was likely to be higher than the reported amount as not all refugees were registering with authorities.
(Photo: Interior Ministry press centre)