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Jordan launches aid drive for Syrian refugees trapped at its border


[7/3/2018 11:39:06 AM]

AMMONNEWS - The United Nations on Tuesday urged Jordan to open up its borders to Syrians fleeing Daraa, where President Bashar al-Assad's government is currently in a fight against rebels to take back the city.
"We call on the Jordanian government to keep its border open and for other countries in the region to step up and receive the fleeing civilians," UN human rights spokesperson Liz Throssel said.

The Jordanian government at present has closed its border to Syria, leaving civilians attempting to escape the violence in Daraa stranded.The latest UN figures indicate that over 270,000 refugees have fled the battle there.

Government officials in Jordan, however, argue that the country is already at full capacity. "We have received enough Syrian refugees; we already have a large number and we simply cannot receive more," Minister of State for Media Affairs Jumana Ghunaimat told The Jordan Times over the weekend.

According to the UN refugee agency, UNHCR, there are currently 666,596 Syrian refugees in Jordan as of June 2018. The Jordanian government has now opted to provide more humanitarian support to refugees at its border instead of taking them in. On Sunday, Jordanian Prime Minister Omar Razzaz launched a nationwide effort to collect donations including food, water and medical supplies for Syrian refugees fleeing Daraa.

Dr. Tina Zintl, a senior researcher at the German Development Institute, believes the Jordanian government's stance makes sense given the current internal situation there. "Jordan could make the extra effort and take in more people," she told DW. "But in terms of domestic politics it is quite a hard game so I completely understand why the Jordanian side has decided to not take in more refugees but instead provide humanitarian aid."

Many Syrian refugees are clustered in the north of the country, Zintl said. In cities located near the Syrian border, such as Mafraq and Irbid, local residents argue taking in more refugees would put a strain on their resources and burden the economy.

*DW

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