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UNICEF demands aid access to Syrians trapped on Jordan border

Jordan has Syrians on the border access to refugee camps [AFP]

Date of publication: 10 October, 2018

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The UN has called for aid workers to be allowed access to thousands of refugees living in miserable conditions on Syria's border with Jordan.

The UN urged for access to tens of thousands of Syrian refugees trapped in a desert area near the Jordanian border, where two babies have died in the past two days due to the worsening conditions.

UNICEF - the UN's fund for children - urged the Syrian regime and Jordan to grant aid workers access to refugees at the al-Rukban border crossing in a statement on Wednesday.

"Once again, UNICEF appeals to all parties to the conflict in Syria and those who have influence over them, to allow and facilitate access to basic services including health for children and families," said the agency's Middle East and North Africa director, Geert Cappelaere.

"This is the very minimum for human dignity."

Around 45,000 people - mostly women and children - are trapped on the border region, between Syria and Jordan.

Amman closed the border following a suicide bombing claimed by the Islamic State group in June 2016.

The attack killed seven Jordanian soldiers in no-man's land near the Rukban crossing.

Jordan declared the border regions on its border with Syria and Iraq "closed military zones".

Amman has allowed several humanitarian aid deliveries to the area following UN requests, but the borders remain closed.

On Wednesday, UNICEF said Wednesday that a five-day-old boy and a four-month-old girl died Rukban.

A clinic on the Jordanian side of the border continues to treat urgent cases, but UNICEF said more sophisticated health care is needed that is "only available in hospitals".

"The situation for the estimated 45,000 people - among them many children - will further worsen with the cold winter months fast approaching, especially when temperatures dip below freezing point in the harsh desert conditions," Cappelaere said.

"It is time to finally put an end to the war on children. History will judge us and the death of children, preventable in many cases, will continue to chase us."

Syria's regime launched an offensive on the last rebel bastions in the south during the summer. The US and rebels still operate a base in al-Tanf, close to Jordan's border.

 



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