Ammon News, Editor's Choice

Jordan makes reservations on the Arab refugee convention

[7/18/2018 3:43:06 PM]

AMMONNEWS - Jordan has expressed reservations over the draft of Arab Convention on Regulating Status of Refugees in the Arab Countries during the 5th meeting of the ad hoc joint committee composed of experts and representatives of justice and interior ministries in the Arab world to study the bill. On the deliberations, Assistant Secretary General of the Arab League Fadel Jawad said the committee's meeting comes in implementation of the decision of the Executive Office of the Council of Arab Ministers of Justice to study feedback on the draft agreement. The committee was formed within context of the Arab League's efforts to revive and revamp the Arab Convention for the Regulation of the Status of Refugees, a key move aimed to address the phenomenon of the influx of refugees in the Arab world during this period and to tackle challenges of the mass exodus of millions of Arabs as a result of regional volatilities. Jordan's reservation to article B, paragraph (3), of the draft convention is related to the definition of a "refugee" as stated in the Minister of Interior's letter on 5/2/2018. On a related context, the reservation to article 14 of the convention was lifted as a paragraph under which a mechanism was set up to identify refugee-triggered burdens.

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Syrian truce relieves pressure on Jordan's border

[7/11/2018 11:19:33 AM]

AMMONNEWS - Jordan is welcoming the news that the Syrian army took control of the Nassib border crossing July 7, weeks after Syria and Russia launched a joint offensive to recapture the southern Syrian province of Daraa from rebel groups. On July 8, The Jordan Times quoted a top military commander as saying the Syrian army’s success in regaining control of the crossing is a “positive development” for Jordan’s national security. Jordanian Brig. Gen. Khaled Massaid, the commander of the northern military region, told the paper that Syria is now in full control of its side of the Jaber/Nassib border crossing, after the Jordanian Armed Forces did its part while the border outpost was in the hands of “terrorist organizations.” This was the first time Jordan has described rebel groups that took control of Nassib in 2015 as “terrorists,” although Amman closed the border crossing with Syria after that. On July 5, the United Nations refugee agency, UNHCR, said there were 60,000 displaced Syrians at the Jordanian border. But according to Jordan, by July 8, after the truce, there were only 8,000 left at the borders. Massaid said on July 8 that "90% of the Syrians stranded on the border have returned to their homes.” Following a Syrian-Russian offensive that began in mid-June, a growing number of Jordanians denounced their government’s decision to close its northern borders to prevent thousands of displaced Syrians from entering. During the week of July 1, Jordanian Prime Minister Omar Razzaz announced a campaign to send humanitarian aid across the border to help displaced Syrians, and Jordanian government spokeswoman Jumana Ghuneimat said Jordan was opening three humanitarian corridors to deliver aid to refugees inside Syria. Politically, Jordan put pressure July 1 on the government opposition groups that make up the Free Syrian Army in Daraa, urging them to negotiate with Russia to end the fighting and reach an agreement allowing for a peaceful handover of the province to government control. But on July 4, negotiations between the two parties collapsed and the Syrian regime and Russia resumed aerial bombardment of Daraa and other rebel-held towns. Ghuneimat reiterated July 4 that there is no military solution to the crisis and urged both sides to return to the negotiating table, according to She called on international organizations to step in to help the displaced in southern Syria. Also on July 4, Jordanian Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi met in Moscow with his Russian counterpart, Sergey Lavrov. Safadi urged the Russians to allow for a cease-fire in Daraa to avoid a major humanitarian crisis in the southern province, according to The Jordan Times. By July 6, various news reports suggested that such an agreement was reached, signaling an end to rebel control of most of southern Syria. Fayez al-Duwairi, a retired Jordanian army general and military analyst, told Al-Monitor he believes that while Jordan’s political efforts were instrumental in reaching an agreement to negotiate, Russian efforts are what finally prevailed. “War in Syria began in Daraa and will end in Daraa,” he said. Jordan, he added, will be relieved to see the Syrian army deployed along its borders, and so will Israel. Hassan al-Barrari, an international relations professor at the University of Jordan, told Al-Monitor that Jordan could do little to avert what was inevitable in Daraa and that the Syrian army’s deployment in southern Syria had come as a result of an agreement between Russia, the United States and Israel. “That deal allows [for Syrian President] Bashar al-Assad to stay in power [at least temporarily] in return for limiting Iranian presence in Syria, which Russia will guarantee,” Barrari said. “The deployment serves Jordan’s interests as well and moves the fighting to Idlib in the north,” he added. The reopening of the border crossing between Jordan and Syria is a political decision and indicates an improvement in relations between the two countries after seven years of tensions — since the Syrian civil war began in 2011. On July 8, Syria’s official news agency (Sana) said the highway connecting Syria with Jordan would be ready to reopen within a week. Damascus had accused Amman in the past of training and arming the rebels. But Jordan’s role in pressuring the rebels to accept a deal with the government will go a long way toward clearing the air. Jordan has maintained diplomatic ties with Damascus, insisting throughout the Syrian crisis that only a political solution would end it. And now that the Syrian government is back in control in the south, Amman hopes Russia will help pave the way for the repatriation of the more than 600,000 Syrian refugees who are in the kingdom. (Some estimates say that 650,000 is only the number of Syrian refugees in Jordan who have registered with UNHCR, but that as many as 1.3 million reside there.) Furthermore, reopening the border crossing should revive Jordan’s economy and encourage Jordanian companies to participate in reconstruction efforts in southern Syria in the future. *Al-Monitor

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Foreign Minister receives Secretary of Executive Committee of PLO

[7/8/2018 5:20:00 PM]

AMMONNEWS - Minister of Foreign and Expatriates Affairs Ayman Safadi on Sunday met with Secretary of the Executive Committee of the Palestine Liberation Organisation Saeb Erekat, who was briefed by Safadi on His Majesty King Abdullah II's talks in Washington, which emphasized that the Palestinian issue is the core of the conflict in the region and that resolving the issue based on the two-state solution is the only way to achieve comprehensive security and stability in the region. Safadi and Erekat stressed the similarity of the Jordanian and Palestinian positions regarding the requirements of resolving the conflict, achieving peace, and meeting the legitimate rights of the Palestinian people, especially their right to freedom and an independent state on the lines of June 4, 1967 with East Jerusalem as its capital. Safadi and Erekat warned of the consequences of the absence of real prospects to end of the occupation,stressing the importance of launching an immediate and effective international effort to break the political blockage. They also condemned the unilateral Israeli moves that aim at changing the facts on the ground and undermining the two-state solution. Safadi and Erekat stressed the importance supporting the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees to help the agency continue its services. Erekat praised efforts of His Majesty King Abdullah II to support the Palestinians to achieve their legitimate rights and establish their independent state.

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UN Says Displaced Syrians Leave Zone Near Jordan Border Crossing

[7/8/2018 5:54:19 AM]

AMMONNEWS - Almost all displaced Syrians at the Nassib-Jaber crossing have left the Jordanian border and returned to Syria, Anders Pedersen, the UN resident and humanitarian coordinator in Jordan, said on Sunday. Several thousand people fleeing an army offensive against rebels in southwest Syria had congregated in a free zone near the crossing. The United Nations says the fighting uprooted more than 320,000 people in the past two weeks, including 60,000 gathered near the border with Jordan and thousands more seeking shelter at the frontier with the Israeli Golan Heights. *Reuters

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11 Syrians allowed entry to Jordanian hospitals

[7/6/2018 11:28:24 AM]

AMMONNEWS - Field Medicine Director Brig.Gen. Salem Zawahreh said that 114 displaced Syrians, who required medical attention, have been admitted to public hospitals in Jordan, bringing the total number of cases rushed to hospitals since the start of fighting in southern Syria to 114. The Jordanian Royal Medical Services offered treatment to 233 cases so far Friday and then returned to Syrian territory, except for 11 cases which were admitted into Jordanian public hospitals, as their condition was relatively more difficult, Zawahreh told Petra. He pointed out that medical attention was provided to 1,460 displaced Syrians since the outbreak of battles in the south of the neighboring country. Zawahreh said "light injuries are medicated on the Jordanian-Syrian border and then returned to Syrian territory."

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Un Official: Jordan shouldered much of the responsibility for hosting Syrian refugees

[7/4/2018 3:42:49 PM]

AMMONNEWS - The United Nations is deeply alarmed about the violence in southern Syria, which is forcing families to flee their homes and has caused civilian deaths and damage to civilian infrastructure, a UN official said Wednesday. UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator, Anders Pedersen, said in a statement that this is the largest population displacement in southern Syria since the onset of the crisis. At least 270,000 people have reportedly been displaced in southern Syria since 18 June due to fighting and military campaigns. Nearly half of them are children. "The immediate needs of displaced Syrians near the border in Jordan include shelter, water, food, medical care and sanitation. Children are at particular risk of dehydration and diarrhea," he added. He said since the war in Syria began in 2011, Jordan has shouldered much of the responsibility for hosting Syrian refugees. Senior United Nations officials, including Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, have expressed their repeated appreciation for the goodwill and generosity of the Government of Jordan. "In coordination with the Government of Jordan, United Nations inter-agency convoys in the past few days have transported lifesaving assistance including food, water, soap, sanitary items, shelter, and medical supplies and equipment for the tens of thousands of Syrians by the Jordanian border". The United Nations, Pedersen added, had also prepared supplies in anticipation of a further escalation of conflict in the south of Syria and dispatched humanitarian assistance over the past two months. "This allowed the United Nations to respond immediately at the start of conflict in Southern Syria to respond to immediate needs. Further food rations were also sent through Ramtha border crossing before the conflict curtailed cross border convoys in late June". "The United Nations reiterates its readiness to assist as much as needed but, at the same time, it also reminds all responsible parties that our effectiveness depends on facilitation of the provision of humanitarian aid and protection to people in need, in line with the parties’ obligations under international humanitarian law". Ultimately, to be able to reach as many Syrians as they need help, he said, UN agencies must be able to access southern Syria through cross-line and cross border operations. the UN official urged all parties to take all necessary measures to safeguard civilian lives, allow freedom of movement, and protect civilian infrastructure, at all times and in accordance with international humanitarian law and international human rights law. The United Nations, Pedersen said, reminds all states and parties involved in the conflict that a delay in responding to the worsening humanitarian crisis could only lead to catastrophic results. "We also remain mindful of the risks that local humanitarian workers in southern Syria face in these difficult and violent times. Many have been displaced, separated from their families, injured or even killed. It is essential that all parties to the conflict do their outmost to protect and ensure the safety of local humanitarian workers".

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Jordan to open 3 border crossings with Syria to facilitate entry of aid

[7/4/2018 3:07:11 AM]

AMMONNEWS - The Jordanian government announced on Wednesday the opening of three border crossings with Syria to hasten operations of delivering humanitarian aid to displaced Syrians from Southern Syria. “The government decided to open the three border crossings on Wednesday in order to facilitate the transit of humanitarian aid to displaced Syrians,” the Ammon news agency cited Jordanian government spokeswoman Jumana Ghunaimat as saying. Ghunaimat did not elaborate on which border crossings will be opened, but she said that 36 trucks carrying humanitarian aid crossed in the direction of the Syrian territories. Earlier, the Jordanian army expressed in a statement its concern that ISIS and other radical groups will take advantage of the displacement crisis in the Daraa province south of Syria. In an interview with the al-Hadath news channel, Jordanian army general Awda al-Shudeifat said that Jordan will hold on to its decision not to open its border to let in more displaced Syrians, expressing the country’s concern about the infiltration of terrorists among the refugees. On another development, Jordanian government spokeswoman Ghunaimat revealed that negotiations between Russia and Syrian opposition have resumed with the help of Jordanian mediation. The spokeswoman said “a Jordanian mediation has finally resulted in the return of negotiations between the two parties” adding that this mediation also resulted in “the formation of an expanded negotiating committee representing the whole south, in order to reach to an agreement that preserves the blood of innocent people and ensures the safety of the people to create the conditions for a final political solution.”

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