Middle-east Arab News Opinion | Asharq Al-awsat

Relief Organizations Reduce Activities in Rukban Refugee Camp | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
Select Page
Media ID: 55353213

Young Syrian refugees play in Zaatari Refugee Camp, Jordan. Reuters

Amman-Following the terrorist attacks on Rukban and Hadalat refugee camps on the Jordanian-Syrian border, relief organizations have reduced their work in the area.

According to sources, the Jordanian Armed Forces’ decision to consider the area a closed military zone, has rendered the presence of relief organizations obsolete.

Spokesperson of the International Committee of the Red Cross Hala Shamlawi said that ICRC workers are not offering any services for refugees in Rukban camp, yet they are doing so in al-Ruwaished area.

Shamlawi added that war traders are selling food and other supplies to those who can buy them at the camp. She told Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper that the World Food Program (WFP) gives food supplies, whereas UNICEF provides drinking water and ICRC offers humanitarian aid.

On Tuesday, a car carrying explosives struck a military post dedicated for serving and helping Syrian refugees after approaching it from the refugee camp. The car bombing left six security personnel dead 14 others wounded.

Jordan’s Armed Forces issued a statement after the incident declaring the border area a military zone.

King Abdullah II called on the international coalition to intensify cooperation with Jordan in order to destroy ISIS.

During a meeting at al-Husseiniya Palace with U.S. Special Presidential Envoy for the Global Coalition to Counter ISIS Brett McGurk, Abdullah stressed that Jordan is continuing its efforts to combat terrorist groups, especially ISIS.

For his part, McGurk condemned the terror attack and stressed the significance of the Jordan-U.S. partnership in the war on terrorism. He highlighted the importance of continued coordination among key international players to defeat terrorists.

Observers believe that Rukban shantytown is not the typical refugee camp and is a security burden for Jordan given its location on the border and the fact that the refugees have arrived from areas under ISIS control.

Sources also say that Syrians arrive at Rukban from all over Syria especially areas under ISIS control. United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) has been registering refugees for seven months.

Over 64,000 refugees reside in Rukban crossing and their number is expected to reach 100,000 by the end of the year, which creates a problem for Jordan and the refugees.

Upon an agreement between the government and UNHCR, Jordan reduced the number of refugees entering its territories allowing around 300 refugees into the country each day. The number has been reduced to 150 people at the beginning of this month.

Jordan has been subjecting the refugees to security screening to prevent any terrorists from entering the country.

Former military officers believe that having the camp in a demilitarized zone creates a dangerous spot, which only supports the government’s decision in prioritizing security over anything else.

Former Lieutenant Kassem Mohammed said that surveillance and security on the camp must be increased. He added that detectors equipped with weapons must be placed in the camp area.