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Heavy rain fails to slow Syrian refugee flow to Jordan

By Taylor Luck - Dec 05,2012 - Last updated at Dec 05,2012

AMMAN — Heavy rainfall has failed to slow the ongoing influx of Syrian refugees into Jordan, relief officials said on Wednesday, reporting over 800 new arrivals in less than 48 hours.

According to the UN Refugee Agency, there has been a rise in the number of Syrians fleeing to the Kingdom since the outbreak of torrential rain on Tuesday, with 469 new arrivals recorded early Wednesday.

The spike in new arrivals comes despite inclement weather and mudslides which, according to security sources, have blocked off traditional crossing routes along the mountainous northwest border region — driving the bulk of the refugee flow eastward into the desert plains.

The rising influx of Syrian refugees also comes amid heavy shelling in southern Syria, as Damascus reportedly continues to pound rebel strongholds and safe houses in Daraa, Nasib and the Damascene countryside.

Activists say increased fighting has forced rebel forces to resume refugee crossings despite the weather conditions, in an attempt to use the heavy rainfall to circumvent the Syrian regime’s growing military crackdown along the borders.

“Many of the main routes to Jordan are impassable and the few that are open are dangerous to cross,” said Abu Hani, rebel Free Syrian Army coordinator in southern Syria.

“But between the airplanes and missiles, staying in Syria is even more dangerous.”

According to activists, some 9,000 displaced Syrians remain “stranded” along the southern border, waiting for a break in Damascus’s military blockade to cross into the Kingdom.

Jordan follows an open-border policy, having granted refuge to over 250,000 Syrians since the outbreak of the conflict in March 2011.

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