News / Middle East

Jordan Army Turns Back Syrian Refugees at Border

A girl wears a headband in the colors of the Syrian revolutionary flag and painted her face with hearts during a protest in front of the Syrian embassy in Amman, Jordan, May 17, 2013.A girl wears a headband in the colors of the Syrian revolutionary flag and painted her face with hearts during a protest in front of the Syrian embassy in Amman, Jordan, May 17, 2013.
x
A girl wears a headband in the colors of the Syrian revolutionary flag and painted her face with hearts during a protest in front of the Syrian embassy in Amman, Jordan, May 17, 2013.
A girl wears a headband in the colors of the Syrian revolutionary flag and painted her face with hearts during a protest in front of the Syrian embassy in Amman, Jordan, May 17, 2013.
Reuters
Jordan has turned away thousands of Syrian refugees in the past week in the first such clampdown since the crisis in Syria began more than two years ago, diplomats, activists and aid workers said on Tuesday.
 
Jordan, due to host an international conference on Syria on Wednesday, has already taken in 473,587 Syrians out of a total of 1.5 million who have fled the conflict in an exodus that has accelerated in the past four months, U.N. figures show.
 
All four unofficial crossing points used by refugees trying to escape bombardments in the southern province of Deraa have been closed for the past six days, refugees and aid workers say, although the official frontier post at Jaber remained open.
 
They said Syrian families trying to pass into Jordan from the rebel-held border villages of Nasib and Tel Shehab had been turned away with no reason given by the Jordanians.
 
“The Jordanian authorities have stopped receiving refugees whatever their circumstance, except the wounded,” Abu Hussein al-Zubi, a Syrian aid worker contacted by phone in Nasib, where he said at least 1,000 refugees were stranded.
 
“There are now many refugees gathering on the border trying to enter Jordan and waiting for the border to open,” he said.
 
The daily exodus is facilitated by Syrian rebels and Jordanian troops on either side of a border marked only by a barbed wire barrier and Jordanian sentry towers.
 
A Western diplomat linked the closure to security measures before Wednesday's “Friends of Syria” meeting in Amman, where foreign ministers of Western and Gulf states opposed to Assad will discuss the quest for a political solution in Syria.
 
“The Jordanians are worried about security issues (and) are sending signals to the international community highlighting the huge refugee burden they are now shouldering,” he said.
 
Resource-poor Jordan has long sought to win more outside help in its struggle to cope with the vast influx of refugees.
 
In Geneva, a U.N. official said it was important that Jordan keep its borders open to refugees.
 
“Of course we are discussing with everybody, we are discussing with the Jordanian government to make sure that people are able to cross without facing any difficulty to reach safety wherever they are,” Panos Moumtzis, regional coordinator of the U.N. refugee agency UNHCR, told a news briefing.
 
UNHCR's representative in Jordan, Andrew Harper, confirmed to Reuters that the refugee flow had slowed to a trickle in the last few days, but said the reasons were not clear.
 
“What we are pretty sure of is that the refugees are not coming to the border. At the moment the access routes to the border are closed,” he said.
 
Harper said fewer than 30 refugees had arrived in the last three days, compared to the usual 1,000 to 2,000 a day, but said Jordan had told UNHCR it was not turning back refugees.
 
“The Jordanians are saying the flow is restricted on the other side ... and that people are not actually getting to the border, whether that is true or not,” he said.
 
Jordanian officials have made no public comment.
 
U.N. agencies say privately they cannot verify what happens at the border because they only register refugees when they arrive at Zaatari camp, which houses more than 100,000 people and is by far the largest Syrian refugee camp in the region.
 
Harper said much more needed to be done to expand relief efforts inside southern Syria to relieve the burden on Jordan, where resources are stretched to the utmost.

You May Like

Video Protests Continue in Ferguson, Spread to Other US Cities

Missouri officials say deployment of more than 2,000 National Guard soldiers helps curb second night of rampant arson and looting in Midwestern town More

Video Ebola, Crackdown on Illegals Hit Business in Guangzhou

Chinese city has largest community of Africans in Asia More

Video Legendary Lebanese Actress, Singer Sabah Dies at 87

Music and film diva, affectionately called 'Sabbouha' by millions of her fans, performed at Carnegie Hall in New York, Royal Albert Hall in London, Olympia in Paris, Sydney Opera House in Sydney More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Aung San Suu Kyi: Myanmar Opposition to Keep Pushing for Constitutional Changei
X
November 24, 2014 10:09 PM
Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi says she and her supporters will continue pushing to amend a constitutional clause that bars her from running for president next year. VOA's Than Lwin Htun reports from the capital Naypyitaw in this report narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video Aung San Suu Kyi: Myanmar Opposition to Keep Pushing for Constitutional Change

Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi says she and her supporters will continue pushing to amend a constitutional clause that bars her from running for president next year. VOA's Than Lwin Htun reports from the capital Naypyitaw in this report narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video Mali Attempts to Shut Down Ebola Transmission Chain

Senegal and Nigeria were able to stop small Ebola outbreaks by closely monitoring those who had contact with the sick person and quickly isolating anyone with symptoms. Mali is now scrambling to do the same. VOA’s Anne Look reports from Mali on what the country is doing to shut down the chain of transmission.
Video

Video Ukraine Marks Anniversary of Deadly 1930s Famine

During a commemoration for millions who died of starvation in Ukraine in the early 1930s, President Petro Poroshenko lashed out at Soviet-era totalitarianism for causing the deaths and accused today’s Russian-backed rebels in the east of using similar tactics. VOA’s Daniel Shearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Hong Kong Protests at a Crossroads

New public opinion polls in Hong Kong indicate declining support for pro-democracy demonstrations after weeks of street protests. VOA’s Bill Ide in Guangzhou and Pros Laput in Hong Kong spoke with protesters and observers about whether demonstrators have been too aggressive in pushing for change.
Video

Video US Immigration Relief Imminent for Mixed-Status Families

Tens of thousands of undocumented immigrants in the Washington, D.C., area may benefit from a controversial presidential order announced this week. It's not a path to citizenship, as some activists hoped. But it will allow more immigrants who arrived as children or who have citizen children, to avoid deportation and work legally. VOA's Victoria Macchi talks with one young man who benefited from an earlier presidential order, and whose parents may now benefit after years of living in fear.
Video

Video New Skateboard Defies Gravity

A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Impact US Oil Extraction

With the price of oil now less than $80 a barrel, motorists throughout the United States are benefiting from gas prices below $3 a gallon. But as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the decreasing price of petroleum has a downside for the hydraulic fracturing industry in the United States.
Video

Video Tensions Build on Korean Peninsula Amid Military Drills

It has been another tense week on the Korean peninsula as Pyongyang threatened to again test nuclear weapons while the U.S. and South Korean forces held joint military exercises in a show of force. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from the Kunsan Air Base in South Korea.
Video

Video Mama Sarah Obama Honored at UN Women’s Entrepreneurship Day

President Barack Obama's step-grandmother is in the United States to raise money to build a $12 million school and hospital center in Kogelo, Kenya, the birthplace of the president's father, Barack Obama, Sr. She was honored for her decades of work to aid poor Kenyans at a Women's Entrepreneurship Day at the United Nations.
Video

Video Ebola Economic Toll Stirs W. Africa Food Security Concerns

The World Bank said Wednesday that it expects the economic impact of the Ebola outbreak on the sub-Saharan economy to cost somewhere betweenf $3 billion to $4 billion - well below a previously-outlined worst-case scenario of $32 billion. Some economists, however, paint a gloomier picture - warning that the disruption to regional markets and trading is considerable. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Chaos, Abuse Defy Solution in Libya

The political and security crisis in Libya is deepening, with competing governments and, according to Amnesty International, widespread human rights violations committed with impunity. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video US Hosts Record 866,000 Foreign Students

Close to 900,000 international students are studying at American universities and colleges, more than ever before. About half of them come from Asia, mostly China. The United States hosts more foreign students than any other country in the world, and its foreign student population is steadily growing. Zlatica Hoke reports.

All About America

AppleAndroid