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Amnesty International: 75,000 Syrian refugees trapped at Syria-Jordan border

By Sarah Mulé
Amnesty International: 75,000 Syrian refugees trapped at Syria-Jordan border
A satellite image shows the growth at the Rukban border site along the northeast border between Syria and Jordan. The desert site, known as the berm, is home to 75,000 Syrian refugees who have been denied entry to Jordan while fleeing the civil war in their home country. Image courtesy of Amnesty International

RUKBAN, Jordan, Sept. 17 (UPI) -- Jordan's refusal to admit Syrian refugees near Rukban, along its northeast border with Syria, has left 75,000 people stranded in the desert cut off from humanitarian aid, said Amnesty International.

The makeshift camp, known as the berm, has grown from 368 shelters a year ago to 8,295 as of September, the humanitarian aid group said.

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Thousands of people continue to escape the conflict in Syria, only to be turned away at the Jordan border due to "security concerns."

"The security of Jordanian people supersedes any other concern," said Mohammed al-Momani, Jordan's government representative.

Jordan said it is currently home to more than 1 million Syrians, nearly three-quarters of whom are officially registered with the United Nations.

Humanitarian aid to the berm ceased after the border crossings were sealed in June following a deadly attack that killed seven Jordanian border guards.

Amnesty reports one food delivery was made to the region in early August and the lack of adequate medical care has seen a sharp rise in hepatitis, "which is believed to be the leading cause of child deaths in Rukban."

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There have also been reports of several childbirth-related deaths as a large number of pregnant women are among those fleeing the turmoil in Syria.

Exact figures have been difficult to obtain due to lack of access to the berm, Amnesty said.

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