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No plans yet to open Syria border crossing — official

Ghunaimat says situation still not safe enough for refugees to go home

By Mohammad Ghazal - Jul 22,2018 - Last updated at Jul 22,2018

AMMAN — Jordan said on Sunday that there were no arrangements under way to send Syrian refugees in the Kingdom to their country, according to a government official.

"The Jordanian-Syrian borders are still closed and there is no coordination at present with any party for the return of the Syrians in Jordan to their country," Minister of State for Media Affairs Jumana Ghunaimat told The Jordan Times over the phone on Sunday.

The minister rejected as groundless some reports indicating that there were some suggestions regarding the return of the Syrian refugees in neighbouring countries, including Jordan, to their country.

Early this week, Russian media reported that Moscow had sent a proposal package to the US on organising the return of Syrian refugees to pre-war areas of Syria. 

In its proposal, Russia hoped to set up a joint group to fund the restoration of Syria’s infrastructure, the reports said.

"We are only hearing about such suggestions via media reports…Our borders are closed and will remain so until some conditions are fulfilled," Ghunaimat said.

According to official figures, Jordan is home to more than 1.3 million Syrian refugees, more than 85 per cent of whom live in host communities outside camps. 

She added that scores of Syrians voluntarily returned to Syria over the past period, especially after calm was restored in south Syria.

The total number of refugees returning to Syria from Jordan in 2017 reached 8,037, according to the UNHCR.  

“Jordan will only open its borders when it is safe and secure and when Syrian and non-Syrian terrorist groups in Syria are not there anymore,” she said.

“We will only open the borders when there are no serious threats left and until the safety of individuals can be secured,” said the minister.

In 2015, Jordan closed the Jaber border crossing with Syria for security reasons, while Ramtha, the other border crossing with the war-torn country, has been closed for more than five years.

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