United Nation High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) called on Jordanian authorities on Tuesday to accept 12,000 stranded Syrian refugees at the Syria-Jordan border.
Melissa Fleming, a spokeswoman of the UNHCR, said in a news briefing in Geneva, "The lives of refugees will be at risk in the coming months," and added, "So today the UNHCR appeals to the government of Jordan to allow refugees stranded at the border to enter the country."
According to UNCHR sources, Jordan has at least 630,000 refugees. Some of them are in the country’s refugee camps and many are also living in urban areas.
Jordan allowed Syrians to enter Jordan through all of its informal border crossings in the east and west until mid-2013, although it refused entry to many single Syrian men crossing without relatives, as well as Palestinian refugees from Syria and undocumented people.
In mid-2013, Jordan closed all its informal western border crossings, which are much closer to populated areas of Jordan and Syria than those in the east, to everyone except wounded Syrians who are both combatants and civilians, and other exceptional cases.
Closing the western route meant that Syrians hoping to escape to Jordan without going through Syrian government checkpoints had to travel across dangerous areas of Syria to cross through the informal eastern border crossings that remained open. Jordan heavily restricted entries at these eastern crossings too, for the first time, in July 2014.
However, Jordan finally allowed Syrians on December 2014 to enter and transferred them to nearby transit centres before transporting them to the Raba Sarhan registration centre operated by the government and the UNHCR near the city of Mafraq.