Jordan’s King Abdullah II has rejected calls to restore access to a border area where tens of thousands of Syrians are stranded, local media reported yesterday.
Jordan declared the area around the Rukban border crossing a “closed military zone” in June, after a suicide bombing claimed by the Islamic State group killed seven soldiers near a makeshift desert camp where more than 100,000 Syrians are stuck.
This cut off aid access to the Syrians, who have been gathering at the border for months attempting to flee their country’s five-year civil war into Jordan.
In comments published by the semi-governmental Addustour newspaper yesterday, the king cited fears of “extremist elements” among those stranded, many of whom come from areas controlled by IS.
“Despite all difficulties, Jordan is doing its utmost to help refugees,” he said, “but that will under no circumstances be at the expense of the livelihood of Jordanians and their security.”
Aid agencies have pleaded with the government to restore access to the camp and earlier this month Jordan allowed a delivery of desperately needed food and hygiene supplies after an appeal by the United Nations.
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