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Conditions continue to spiral in Syria’s Rukban camp as regime tightens siege

May 23, 2022 at 12:36 pm

Syrian refugees from the makeshift Rukban camp between the border of Syria and Jordan on 1 March 2017 [KHALIL MAZRAAWI/AFP/Getty Images]

Residents holed up in Syria’s Rukban camp on the Jordanian border are suffering from a severe food shortage after soldiers prevented smugglers from bringing food to the camp.

The Syrian government and its ally Russia put the camp under siege in July 2019 but have intensified its blockade over the past few weeks after having previously blocked UN aid from entering.

The international coalition forces that control the camp and surrounding area have not provided humanitarian assistance and the closure of the Jordan border means that no humanitarian assistance can pass from here.

For years, international refugee agencies have warned that Jordan’s refusal to allow entry to Syrian refugees crossing the border has left them living in dire conditions.

Families inside the camp had been trying to leave the country but got stuck at the border after Jordan stopped letting Syrian refugees in.

In mid-2013 more than 2,000 refugees crossed from Syria to Jordan every day until they suddenly stopped crossing in 2014.

READ: UK urges UN to extend cross-border humanitarian aid into NW Syria

The food brought into Rukban from smugglers was the last remaining lifeline for the camp’s 8,000 residents who have said they no longer have flour, baby formula, vegetables, rice, bulgur and oil.

Residents in the camp are also lacking vital medical care particularly after a UNICEF clinic close by closed in 2020 and never reopened.

Several children and elderly people have died due to lack of food and adequate healthcare.

The head of Rukban’s local council has told Euro-Med Monitor in the past that the Syrian government siege aims to force the refugees inside to return to regime-controlled areas inside Syria.

In April the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported that dozens of families are preparing to leave the camp due to the impossible humanitarian conditions inside and lack of job opportunities.

However, residents returning have been arrested, tortured and forcibly disappeared whilst young returnees have been forced to fight the opposition.