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Jordan says aid for stranded Syrians must come via Syria

Syrian Refugees | 2017-10-08 19:40:29
Jordan says aid for stranded Syrians must come via Syria
Aid deliveries to thousands of Syrians stranded on their war-torn country's desert border with Jordan must pass through Syria, Jordanian Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi said on Sunday.

"They are Syrian citizens on Syrian territory. Syria must therefore assume this responsibility and not Jordan," Safadi said during a meeting with ambassadors from European Union countries.

Aid to them "must pass through Syrian territory", he said.

Some 45,000 displaced Syrians, mostly women and children, have been stuck for months on the Syrian side of the frontier near the Rukban border crossing.

"Conditions on the ground now make it possible to send aid to the Rukban camp via Syria," Safadi said.

His comments came as Syrian government forces have made major advances against the Islamic State group, regaining swathes of the country with Russian air support.

Jordan, which shares a 370-kilometre (230-mile) border with Syria, is part of the US-led coalition fighting IS in Syria and Iraq.

A suicide bombing claimed by IS in June last year killed seven Jordanian soldiers in no-man's land near the Rukban crossing.

Soon afterwards, the army declared Jordan's desert regions that stretch northeast to Syria and east to Iraq "closed military zones".

United Nations agencies in August expressed "deep concern" for the safety of camp residents.

The UN refugee agency says it has registered more than 650,000 Syrian refugees in Jordan since the conflict began.

However, Amman says it is hosting 1.3 million Syrian refugees, and has repeatedly called for more assistance to do so.

More than 330,000 people have been killed in Syria and millions displaced since the country's conflict erupted in March 2011 with anti-government protests.
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