Last updated: 22 July, 2012

Jordan vows to protect border as more Syrians flee

Jordan vowed to take “all necessary measures” to secure its borders with Syria as fighting near the frontier sparked a new influx of thousands of refugees into the kingdom on Sunday.

“The recent development forces Jordan to take all necessary measures to protect the northern region as well as national security from any kind of infiltration,” Information Minister and government spokesman Samih Maaytah said.

“Jordan will continue providing aid to our Syrian brothers who have sought refuge in the kingdom. It is closely monitoring developments and working on controlling the influx of refugees.”

His statement came after a cabinet meeting to discuss “developments and events in Syria as well as their impact on Jordan.”

“The government’s top priority is to preserve national interests and security. It will do all what it takes to achieve this goal,” Maaytah said.

A Jordanian security official told AFP on Saturday that opposition fighters from the Free Syrian Army had tried earlier the same day to seize control of the Nassib border crossing but failed after fighting with the Syrian army.

Nassib is a border crossing from the southern province of Daraa, cradle of the 16-month uprising against the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

The Jordanian border town of Ramtha — home to a large number of Syrian refugees — lies on the other side of the border post.

The cabinet met hours after more than 2,000 Syrians fled to Jordan early on Sunday from the bloodshed in their country, according to the Ketab and Sunna Society, a prominent charity.

“More than 2,000 Syrians sought refuge in Jordan at dawn,” said Zayed Hammad, head of the society which has been taking care of more than 50,000 Syrian refugees in Jordan.

“They fled from violence. We could hear the sound of gunfire and clashes on the Syrian side last night. The fighting was very intense,” Hammad told AFP. “As battles intensify, we expect more and more Syrians to flee to Jordan.”

Jordan is hosting more than 140,000 Syrians and the kingdom is building more camps to house the refugee influx.

The US ambassador to Jordan, E. Jones, said on Sunday that Washington has given $100 million in aid to Jordan to help host the refugees.

“Nowhere outside of Syria are the effects of the Syrian regime’s violence felt as acutely as in Jordan,” he said at a joint news conference with Jordanian Planning Minister Jaafar Hassan.