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Mercy Corps Aid Group Says Turkey Revokes Its License, Orders Shutdown

Mercy Corp provides humanitarian assistance to Syrian refugees in Turkey. (file photo)

One of the largest humanitarian organizations that delivers aid to Syrian refugees in Turkey says the government in Ankara has ordered it to immediately shut down its operations in the country.

The U.S.-based nongovernmental aid group Mercy Corps says Ankara revoked its permit on March 8 without providing a reason for the decision.

Mercy Corps said its aid sites within Turkey were closed on March 8, and that the group was in contact with Turkish officials to try to obtain permission to resume operations there "as soon as possible."

There was no immediate comment from Turkish government officials.

Since 2012, Mercy Corp has been delivering lifesaving humanitarian assistance every month to as many as 500,000 civilians in Syria.

The group also helps some of the 2.7 million Syrian refugees who have fled into neighboring Turkey, as well as poor Turkish families.

Mercy Corps says it will continue its ground operations to deliver aid in Syria, adding that "our priority right now is to limit any adverse effects our departure from Turkey may have on the innocent men, women, and children who depend on our assistance."

Based on reporting by Reuters, AP, and AFP