Turkey has temporarily closed crossings to and from Syria along its border due to fighting between opposition groups inside Syria.
The announcement came shortly after the United States and Britain suspended non-lethal aid to the Syrian opposition. The aid consisted of wood, medical items, non-military equipment like generators and communication equipment.
The blockage of passage to Turkey could have implications for refugees. The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees reported in September that nearly 500,000 Syrians had registered or were awaiting registration as refugees in Turkey, and those numbers have been increasing since.
Meanwhile, a huge storm dubbed Alexa descended Tuesday and Wednesday on the region, dropping snow and rain whipped by high winds onto Turkey, Syria, Jordan and Lebanon, with the latter most affected, the UNHCR said. In the Bekaa in eastern Lebanon, where thousands of Syrian refugees were living in tents, emergency crews were distributing aid.
Al Qaeda militants have swept to power across large swathes of Syria’s rebel-held north. Known as the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, ISIS is the predominant military force in northern Syria, according to activists and seasoned observers, and have a powerful influence over the majority of population centers in the rebel-held north.