The refugees in the camp are at serious risk of starvation if aid does not come soon
The refugees in the camp are at serious risk of starvation if aid does not come soon

Food supplies getting to a camp at the border have been blocked by both Syrian and Jordanian forces. The tens of thousands who are there are at risk of starvation and malnutrition.

A camp with about 50,000 refugees at the Syria-Jordan border has been cut off from outside aid by both Syrian and Jordanian forces. The Syrian army has tightened its grip on the area surrounding Rukban, where the camp is, and Jordan has blocked aid deliveries across the border, according to Reuters.

"The camp is a balloon that could explode at any moment because of hunger, sickness and lack of aid ... if the situation continues like this there will be real starvation," Abu Abdullah, head of the civil affairs council that runs the camp, told Reuters.

Abdullah added that the only food that comes in is via smugglers. The camp has served as a shelter for tens of thousands of people who have fled from Islamic State-held areas of Syria for the past three years. The refugees living in the camp have been trapped there ever since Jordan closed the border.

Already too late

The United Nations (UN) Geert Cappelaere, the UNICEF regional director, said there were two infants, a five-day-old boy and four-month-old girl, who died from a lack of food. 

"The two children in Rukban are among many, many children in Syria and the region who died in a conflict that they have absolutely no responsibility for. Their lives have been cut short, their families forever broken in grief," said Cappelaere in a statement.

The UN agency for children demanded that all parties in the Syrian conflict facilitate access to basic services for children and families, especially as the winter months approach. 

"This is the very minimum for human dignity," added Cappelaere.

Fighting for solution

Jordan, which has already taken in hundreds of thousands of Syrian refugees, could not be held responsible for delivering aid to the camp. That is according to foreign minister Ayman Safadi. Jordan wants the UN and Russia to pressure Syria to give written authorizations to allow supplies into Rukban.

Western forces say the siege of the camp is part of a Russian-backed Syrian effort to get US forces out of the southeastern Syrian area of Tanf. The Syrian government says the US forces that are there provide a safe-haven for rebel groups that the Syrian government deems terrorists.

 

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