News / Middle East

Kerry: Syrian Refugee Crisis Challenges International Community

Kerry Visits Syrian Refugee Camp in Jordani
X
July 18, 2013 4:19 PM
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry visited a Syrian refugee camp in Jordan on Thursday. Kerry and Jordanian Foreign Minister Nasser Judeh came to the Zaatari camp about 12 kilometers from the Syrian border, where more than 115,000 people are living in what’s become a small city. VOA State Department correspondent Scott Stearns was there.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry says the international community must push to end Syria's civil war to stop the violence and allow for the return of nearly two-million refugees. Kerry visited a refugee camp in Jordan near the Syrian border Thursday.  
 
Secretary Kerry and Jordanian Foreign Minister Nasser Judeh came to the Zaatari camp, where nearly 120,000 people are living in what has become a small city scraped out of a dry plain 12 kilometers from the Syrian border.
 
Refugees and aid workers say the mindset here has changed with recent military gains by forces loyal to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad as people realize that more than two years into this war, being a refugee is not a temporary status.
 
Syrian refugees take part in a demonstration at the Zaatari refugee camp, near the border with Syria. (File photo).Syrian refugees take part in a demonstration at the Zaatari refugee camp, near the border with Syria. (File photo).
x
Syrian refugees take part in a demonstration at the Zaatari refugee camp, near the border with Syria. (File photo).
Syrian refugees take part in a demonstration at the Zaatari refugee camp, near the border with Syria. (File photo).
Families are beginning to cement their compounds around ornamental fountains.  More than a dozen babies are born each day at a Moroccan hospital in the camp.  Taxis ply a main paved road known as the Champs Elysees, past some of the more than 3,000 shops and more than 500 food stalls in the camp.
 
But for all the effort to build a sense of normalcy here, Kerry says there is "a searing, unforgettable passion" to which the world must respond.
 
"It underscores the urgency of the international community one, helping to take care of these people and relieve the burden. But two, helping to bring an end to this crisis in Syria.  The stories are obviously horrendous.  The life is very, very difficult.  The burdens on Jordan are huge," he said. 
 
Foreign Minister Judeh says Jordan needs more help from the international community.
 
"But at the end of the day this is all the humanitarian spillover of a political and military crisis that's taking place on Syrian soil just 10 miles away from here.  And I think the end result is a political solution that will end the bloodshed and ensure that these people go back and resume their livelihood," he said. 
 
At $1,000,000 a day, the international community is spending big here, but refugees want more.  They say donors need to supply better weapons to the Syrian opposition to help topple President Assad.
 
In a private meeting with refugees, one woman told Kerry, "I think the U.S. as a superpower can change the equation in Syria in 30 minutes after you return to Washington."  Another refugee complained that Iran, Hezbollah, and Russia are giving far more support to President Assad than the international community is giving to the rebellion.
 
Kerry said the United States is doing everything it can "to help Syrians be able to fight for Syria."  But he could not say what that support would be or when it might be delivered, much to the dissatisfaction of Syrian refugees.
 
"They are frustrated and angry at the world for not stepping in and helping.  And I explained to them I do not think it is as cut and dried and simple as some of them look at it.  But if I were in their shoes, I would be looking for help from wherever I could find it," he said. 
 
Acknowledging divisions within the Syrian opposition, another refugee told Kerry those divisions are no excuse for inaction. "The international community can decide to keep its eyes closed as long as it wants," the refugee said.  "We will return to Syria and we will remember everything."

You May Like

Video Obama to Send 3,000 Troops to Liberia in Ebola Fight

At Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, President says US will take leadership role for a global response to deadly Ebola virus that is ravaging West Africa More

Video China Muslims Work to Change Perceptions After Knife Attacks

Muslims in Kunming say that they condemn the violence, it is not a reflection of the true beliefs of their faith More

Humanitarian Aid, Equipment Blocked in Cameroon

Move is seen as a developing supply crisis in West Africa More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Enviropreneur Seeks to Save the Environment, Empower the Communityi
X
September 16, 2014 2:06 PM
Lorna Rutto, a former banker, is now an ‘enviropreneur’ - turning plastic waste into furniture and fences discusses the challenges she faces in Africa with raw materials and the environment.
Video

Video Enviropreneur Seeks to Save the Environment, Empower the Community

Lorna Rutto, a former banker, is now an ‘enviropreneur’ - turning plastic waste into furniture and fences discusses the challenges she faces in Africa with raw materials and the environment.
Video

Video West Trades Accusations Over Ransoms

As world leaders try to forge a common response to the threat posed by Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria, there is simmering tension over differing policies on paying ransoms. In the past month, the jihadist group has beheaded two Americans and one Briton. Both countries refuse to pay ransom money. As Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London, there is uncertainty in the approach of some other European nations.
Video

Video Scotland Independence Bid Stokes Global Interest

The people of Scotland are preparing to vote on whether to become independent and break away from the rest of Britain, in a referendum being watched carefully in many other countries. Some see it as a risky experiment; while others hope a successful vote for independence might energize their own separatist demands. Foreign immigrants to Scotland have a front row seat for the vote. VOA’s Henry Ridgwell spoke to some of them in Edinburgh.
Video

Video Washington DC Mural Artists Help Beautify City

Like many cities, Washington has a graffiti problem. Buildings and homes, especially in low-income neighborhoods, are often targets of illegal artwork. But as we hear from VOA’s Julie Taboh, officials in the nation's capital have come up with an innovative program that uses the talents of local artists to beautify the city.
Video

Video US Muslim Leaders Condemn Islamic State

Leaders of America's Muslim community are condemning the violent extremism of the Islamic State group in Iraq and Syria. The U.S. Muslim leaders say militants are exploiting their faith in a failed effort to justify violent extremism. VOA correspondent Meredith Buel reports.
Video

Video Americans' Reaction Mixed on Obama Strategy for Islamic State Militants

President Barack Obama’s televised speech on how the United States plans to “degrade and destroy” the group known as the Islamic State reached a prime-time audience of millions. And it came as Americans appear more willing to embrace a bolder, tougher approach to foreign policy. VOA producer Katherine Gypson and reporter Jeff Seldin have this report from Washington.
Video

Video Authorities Allege LA Fashion Industry-Cartel Ties

U.S. officials say they have broken up crime rings that funneled tens of millions of dollars from Mexican drug cartels through fashion businesses in Los Angeles. Mike O'Sullivan reports that authorities announced nine arrests, as 1,000 law enforcement agents fanned out through the city on Wednesday.
Video

Video Bedouin Woman Runs Successful Business in Palestinian City

A Bedouin woman is breaking social taboos by running a successful vacation resort in the Palestinian town of Jericho. Bedouins are a sub-group of Arabs known for their semi-nomadic lifestyle. Zlatica Hoke says the resort in the West Bank's Jordan Valley is a model of success for women in the region.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid