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

Conflicts Engulf Christians in Mideast

Research finds an increase in faith-based hostilities, and Christians are facing persecution in a growing number of countries in the region More

Chinese Americans: Don’t Call Us 'Model Minority'

Label points to collective achievement, but some say it triggers resentment, unrealistic expectations More

Iran Bolsters Surveillance of Phones, Internet

Does increased monitoring suggest the government is nervous? 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.
West Africa Ebola Vaccine Trials Possible by Early 2015i
X
Carol Pearson
August 30, 2014 7:14 PM
A U.S. health agency is speeding up clinical trials of a possible vaccine against the deadly Ebola virus that so far has killed more than 1,500 people in West Africa. If successful, the next step would be a larger trial in countries where the outbreak is occurring. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
Video

Video West Africa Ebola Vaccine Trials Possible by Early 2015

A U.S. health agency is speeding up clinical trials of a possible vaccine against the deadly Ebola virus that so far has killed more than 1,500 people in West Africa. If successful, the next step would be a larger trial in countries where the outbreak is occurring. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
Video

Video Survivors Commemorate 70th Anniversary of Nazi Liquidation of Polish Ghetto

When the Nazi army moved into the Polish city of Lodz in 1939, it marked the beginning of a long nightmare for the Jewish community that once made up one third of the population. Roughly 200,000 people were forced into the Lodz Ghetto. Less than 7,000 survived. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, some survivors gathered in Chicago on the 70th anniversary of the liquidation of the Lodz Ghetto to remember those who suffered at the hands of the Nazi regime.
Video

Video Cost to Raise Child in US Continues to Rise

The cost of raising a child in the United States continues to rise. In its latest annual report, the U.S. Department of Agriculture says middle income families with a child born in 2013 can expect to spend more than $240,000 before that child turns 18. And sending that child to college more than doubles that amount. VOA’s Deborah Block visited with a couple with one child in Alexandria, Virginia, to learn if the report reflects their lifestyle.
Video

Video Chaotic Afghan Vote Recount Threatens Nation’s Future

Afghanistan’s troubled presidential election continues to be rocked by turmoil as an audit of the ballots drags on. The U.N. says the recount will not be completed before September 10. Observers say repeated disputes and delays are threatening the orderly transfer of power and could have dangerous consequences. VOA correspondent Meredith Buel reports.
Video

Video Ukraine Battles Pro-Russia Rebel Assault

After NATO concluded an emergency meeting to discuss the crisis in eastern Ukraine, the country is struggling to contain heavy fighting near the strategic port of Mariupol, on the Azov Sea. Separatist rebels are trying to capture the city, allegedly with Russian military help, and Ukraine's defense forces are digging in. VOA's Daniel Schearf spoke with analysts about what lies ahead for Ukraine.
Video

Video Growing Business Offers Paint with a Twist of Wine

Two New Orleans area women started a small business seven years ago with one thing in mind: to help their neighbors relieve the stress of coping with a hurricane's aftermath. Today their business, which pairs painting and a little bit of wine, has become one of the fastest growing franchises across the U.S. VOA’s June Soh met the entrepreneurs at their newest franchise location in the Washington suburbs.
Video

Video Ebola Vaccine Trials To Begin Next Week

The National Institutes of Health says it is launching early stage trials of a vaccine to prevent the Ebola virus, which has infected or killed thousands of people across West Africa. The World Health Organization says Ebola could infect more than 20,000 people across the region by the time the outbreak is over. The epidemic has health experts and governments scrambling to prevent more people from becoming infected. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Asian Bacteria Threatens Florida Orange Trees

Florida's citrus fruit industry is facing a serious threat from a bacteria carried by the Asian insect called psyllid. The widespread infestation again highlights the danger of transferring non-native species to American soil. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Aging Will Reduce Economic Growth Worldwide in Coming Decades

The world is getting older, fast. And as more people retire each year, fewer working-age people will be there to replace them. Bond rating agency Moody’s says that will lead to a decline in household savings; reducing global investments - which in turn, will lead to slower economic growth around the world. But experts say it’s not too late to mitigate the economic impact of the world’s aging populations. Mil Arcega has more.
Video

Video Is West Doing Enough to Tackle Islamic State?

U.S. President Barack Obama has ruled out sending ground troops to Iraq to fight militants of the so-called Islamic State, or ISIS, despite officials in Washington describing the extremist group as the biggest threat the United States has faced in years. Henry Ridgwell reports from London on the growing uncertainty over whether the West’s response to ISIS will be enough to defeat the terrorist threat.
Video

Video Coalition to Fight Islamic State Could Reward Assad

The United States along with European and Mideast allies are considering a broader assault against Islamic State fighters who have spread from Syria into Iraq and risk further destabilizing an already troubled region. But as VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports, confronting those militants could end up helping the embattled Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
Video

Video Made in America Socks Get Toehold in Online Fashion Market

Three young entrepreneurs are hoping to revolutionize the high-end sock industry by introducing all-American creations of their own. And they’re doing most of it the old-fashioned way. VOA’s Julie Taboh recently caught up with them to learn what goes into making their one-of-a-kind socks.
Video

Video Americans, Ex-Pats Send Relief Supplies to West Africa

Health organizations from around the world are sending supplies and specialists to the West African countries that are dealing with the worst Ebola outbreak in history. On a smaller scale, ordinary Americans and African expatriates living in the United States are doing the same. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.

AppleAndroid