Jordan says unable to host new wave of Syria refugees

A displaced Syrian girl from the Daraa province fleeing shellings by pro-government forces carries a toddler in a makeshift camp in the province of Quneitra, southwestern Syria, near the border with the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights, on June 22, 2018. (AFP)
Updated 24 June 2018
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Jordan says unable to host new wave of Syria refugees

  • Amman says it has spent more than $10 billion (8.5 billion euros) hosting Syrian refugees
  • Some 650,000 Syrian refugees have registered with the United Nations in Jordan

AMMAN: Jordan said Sunday it would be unable to host a new wave of Syrian refugees, as troops loyal to Damascus prepare an offensive for the war-torn country’s rebel-held south.
“The large number of Syrians we’re hosting in terms of financial resources and infrastructure does not allow for the reception of a new wave of asylum seekers,” Jumana Ghanimat, minister of state for media affairs, told AFP.
Some 650,000 Syrian refugees have registered with the United Nations in Jordan since fleeing their country’s seven-year war which was sparked by peaceful anti-government protests in 2011.
Amman estimates the actual number is closer to 1.3 million people and says it has spent more than $10 billion (8.5 billion euros) hosting them.
“Jordan has not and will not abandon its humanitarian role and its commitment to international charters, but it has exceeded its ability to absorb (more refugees),” said Ghanimat, who also serves as a spokeswoman for the government.
“Everyone should cooperate to deal with any new wave of displacement within Syria’s borders,” she said, adding Jordan would work with “concerned organizations” to find an arrangement for the displaced inside Syria.
Her comments came as Syrian government forces ready an offensive to retake the southern provinces of Daraa, Quneitra and parts of Sweida, still mostly held by rebels.
Southern Syria is a strategically vital zone: it borders both Jordan and the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights, and also lies close to Damascus.
After neutralising rebel strongholds on the edge of the capital earlier this year, President Bashar Assad is now turning his attention to the south.
In recent weeks regime forces have dropped leaflets over Daraa and Quneitra, warning of impending military operations and calling on the rebels to surrender.
“Jordan is in close contact with Washington and Moscow to maintain an agreement to reduce the escalation in southern Syrian,” Ghoneim said.
She said the kingdom was “following the current developments in southern Syrian to reach a formula that protects Jordanian interests along the border and the waves of asylum seekers.”
The UN on Thursday warned escalation in Syria’s south could have dangerous repercussions for the estimated 750,000 civilians in the rebel-held area.


Truckloads of civilians leave Daesh enclave in Syria

Updated 22 February 2019
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Truckloads of civilians leave Daesh enclave in Syria

  • The village is all that remains for Daesh in the Euphrates valley region that became its final populated stronghold in Iraq and Syria
  • The SDF has steadily driven the militants down the Euphrates after capturing their Syrian capital

NEAR BAGHOU: Trucks loaded with civilians left the last Daesh enclave in eastern Syria on Friday, as US-backed forces waited to inflict final defeat on the surrounded militants.
Reporters near the front line at Baghouz saw dozens of trucks driving out with civilians inside them, but it was not clear if more remained in the tiny pocket.
The village is all that remains for Daesh in the Euphrates valley region that became its final populated stronghold in Iraq and Syria after it lost the major cities of Mosul and Raqqa in 2017.
The SDF has steadily driven the militants down the Euphrates after capturing their Syrian capital, Raqqa, in 2017, but does not want to mount a final attack until all civilians are out.
The US-led coalition which supports the SDF has said Islamic State’s “most hardened fighters” remain holed up in Baghouz, close to the Iraqi frontier.
Mustafa Bali, head of the SDF’s media office, earlier told Reuters that more than 3,000 civilians were estimated to still be inside Baghouz and there would be an attempt to evacuate them on Friday.
“If we succeed in evacuating all the civilians, at any moment we will take the decision to storm Baghouz or force the terrorists to surrender,” he said.
Though the fall of Baghouz marks a milestone in the campaign against Islamic State and the wider conflict in Syria, the militant group is still seen as a major security threat.
It has steadily turned to guerrilla warfare and still holds territory in a remote, sparsely populated area west of the Euphrates River — a part of Syria otherwise controlled by the Syrian government and its Russian and Iranian allies.
The United States will leave “a small peacekeeping group” of 200 American troops in Syria for a period of time after a US pullout, the White House said on Thursday, as President Donald Trump pulled back from a complete withdrawal.
Trump in December ordered a withdrawal of the 2,000 troops, saying they had defeated Daesh militants in Syria.

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