Refugees look through a fence towards the Macedonian side at the Greek-Macedonian border near the village of Idomeni on March 1 , 2016, where thousands are stranded. / AFP / LOUISA GOULIAMAKI
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Top NATO General Philip Breedlove Tuesday warned U.S. lawmakers that Russia is helping Syrian President Bashar Assad turn the refugee crisis into a "weapon" against the West.Speaking of Russia's six-month air campaign in support of Assad, and the Syrian leader's use of barrel bombs in civilian areas, Breedlove said Moscow and Damascus are deliberately fueling the mass displacement of Syrians.The four-star general also accused Russia of posing a growing threat to the United States itself.More than 9,000 people have died during the Ukrainian government's 22-month war against pro-Russian insurgents in the former Soviet state's industrial east.
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