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Tunisia grants 30-day visas to Palestine refugees fleeing Syria

May 22, 2014 2:57 A.M. (Updated: May 24, 2014 10:59 A.M.)
GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- A group of 30 Palestinian refugees fleeing Syria have been allowed to temporarily enter Tunisia until a permanent solution can be found, having been denied entry to the country a day earlier.

The refugees landed in Tunis–Carthage International Airport on Wednesday after having fled Syria via Beirut. Tunisian authorities initially denied them entry to the country and they were forced to stay in the airport.

On Thursday, one of the refugees told Ma'an that Tunisian authorities had decided to grant 30-day visas to the group so they can enter the country while trying to find a permanent solution.

The Tunisian Ministry of Interior said Thursday that they issued the visas after the Palestinian ambassador to the country intervened.

Women and children will be provided with temporary accommodation while male refugees will stay at the passengers hall in the airport, a statement said.

PA ambassador Salman al-Hirafi said that it was up to Tunisian authorities whether the refugees would be returned to Beirut or go to Libya.

Tunisian Minister of Tourism Amel Karboul wrote on her Facebook page that the ministry of tourism "offers to host the Palestinian brothers who were denied entry to Tunisia Wednesday, at the expense of the Tunisian state."

In February, the Turkish government agreed to grant residency permits to Palestinians who had fled Syria for Turkey.

Approximately 250,000 Palestinian refugees have been forced to leave their refugee camps in Syria due to violence in the country.

Prior to the conflict, 600,000 Palestinian refugees lived in Syria.
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