Jordan Closes Border Area With Syria to Limit Refugee Influx

  • Some 75,000 Syrian refugees are already stranded along border
  • PM Mulki says will still grant access in humanitarian cases

Zaatari Refugee Camp in northern Jordan.

Photographer: Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images

Jordan closed its border area with Syria to all but the military as it seeks to limit the influx of Syrian refugees.

The country “cannot tolerate the burden of any additional Syrian refugees anymore, and will not allow the entry of refugees except in humanitarian cases,” Jordan’s state-run Petra news agency cited Prime Minister Hani Mulki as saying on Wednesday. About 75,000 refugees are stranded in a no man’s land between Jordan and Syria, Amnesty International said last month.

Hani Mulki.

Hani Mulki.

Photographer: Joseph Barrak/AFP via Getty Images

Jordan’s economy has struggled as the conflicts in neighboring Iraq and Syria depressed trade with its onetime partners. Syrian refugees now account for 20 percent of Jordan’s population, and international aid has been insufficient, Mulki said. The government agreed a $723 million, three-year loan with the International Monetary Fund in August to overhaul the economy and to unlock funds from international donors.

The United Nations World Food Program warned in June that the buildup of refugees on Jordan’s northeastern border requires urgent international attention to avert a humanitarian disaster.

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