03/28/2008 02:45 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

Syria Closes Its Borders, Requires 1.5 Million Iraqi Refugees To Return To Iraq

Long the only welcoming country in the region for Iraqi refugees, Syria has closed its borders to all but a small group of Iraqis and imposed new visa rules that will legally require the 1.5 million Iraqis currently in Syria to return to Iraq.

The change quietly went into effect on Oct. 1. Syrian officials have often threatened to stem the flow of refugees over the past eight months, but until now have backed down after pleas from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.

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