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Iran Press TV

Jordan agrees to aid drop for stranded Syrians

Iran Press TV

Sun Jan 7, 2018 06:10PM

Jordan has agreed to a request by the United Nations to deliver humanitarian aid to thousands of displaced Syrians stranded in harsh conditions near a border crossing between Jordan and Syria.

Jordanian Foreign Ministry spokesman Mohammed al-Kayed said in the capital Amman on Sunday that the aid would be lifted across the border using special equipment.

It will be a "one-off" operation to send "humanitarian aid across the Rukban border crossing" toward a desert area where the Syrians are stuck, Kayed said.

The spokesman did not elaborate on the kind of humanitarian aid that would be sent to the Syrians nor did he say how many Syrians were stranded in the desert.

In October last year, Jordanian Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi insisted that aid to those stranded near Rukban should come from Syria itself.

Jordan alleges that Rukban border camp has been infiltrated by the Takfiri Daesh terrorist group and that cross-border traffic endangers the kingdom.

Daesh killed seven Jordanian troops in a bombing near Rukban in 2016, forcing the closure of the common border and triggering the Jordanian army to declare the country's desert areas, which border Syria and Iraq, "closed military zones."

The closure ended the UN's regular aid shipments from Jordan to displaced Syrians struggling for survival in a remote stretch of the desert. Conditions are worsening for them as winter grips the region.

According to the UN's estimates, between 45,000 and 50,000 Syrians have been stuck for months on the Syrian side of the frontier near Rukban.

Aid agencies have been struggling to reach those in need in the area since the onset of the emergency situation along the border.

The Syrian army has managed to advance to the border with Jordan and liberate a 30-kilometer-long stretch of land along the frontier. The liberation has blocked the loopholes across the border, which would previously allow arms transfers from Jordan to militants based in Syria.

The UN refugee agency says it has registered more than 650,000 Syrian refugees in Jordan since March 2011, when crisis erupted in Syria.

Jordan shares a desert border of more than 370 kilometers with Syria and says it is hosting 1.3 million Syrian refugees.

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