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Over 1,000 Syrians cross into Kingdom during Eid holiday

By Taylor Luck - Oct 29,2012 - Last updated at Oct 29,2012

AMMAN — The influx of Syrian refugees into Jordan continued uninterrupted during Eid Al Adha, relief officials said, with hundreds fleeing to the Kingdom amid failed attempts by diplomats to enforce a ceasefire during the four-day holiday.

According to the UN Refugee Agency, over 1,000 Syrians crossed into Jordan between Friday and Monday, including 700 in a 48-hour period.

The influx marked an ongoing upswing in the number of Syrians fleeing to the Kingdom despite Damascus’ military blockade of the border region.

According to a local security source in the border region, 20 Syrians were injured in their attempt to cross into Jordan during the Eid, amid attempts by UN Special Envoy Lakhdar Brahimi to hold regime and rebel forces to a ceasefire during the holiday.

Authorities transferred the 20 Syrians, who sustained injuries ranging from bullet wounds to rocket shrapnel, to the Ramtha and Mafraq public hospitals for treatment, the source added.

The injured are currently listed in conditions ranging from moderate to serious.

Despite pledges by Damascus and rebel forces to lay down their arms for the holiday, Syrians who braved the journey to Jordan during the four-day period claimed that conditions in their homeland were “far” from a ceasefire.

“Regime forces opened fire and dropped rockets on us from above when we got near the border,” Abu Mohammad, a Damascus resident who crossed into the Kingdom with some 100 compatriots on Sunday, told The Jordan Times.

“The only sacrifices in Syria this Eid has been the blood of the Syrian people,” the 40-year-old said.

Syrian activists said they expect over 2,000 refugees to cross into Jordan before the end of the week, maintaining that some 8,000 Syrians remain internally displaced along the border region.

“Each day more and more people are arriving in southern Syria from Aleppo, Damascus and Homs,” Abu Hani, a coordinator with the Free Syrian Army, told The Jordan Times.

“We are trying to help them cross, but we cannot keep up with the numbers,” he acknowledged.

Activists claim Damascus is continuing a recent military offensive to break rebel strongholds in southern Syria and reassert control over border regions — a series of operations that has rendered mass refugee crossings an “impossibility”, according to them. 

Despite the ongoing blockade, which last month reduced the refugee influx from 5,000 to “tens” of new arrivals per day, rebel forces pledged to continue facilitating crossings to avert a “humanitarian disaster” along the Jordanian-Syrian border. 

The Kingdom continues to follow an open-border policy, having granted refuge to over 210,000 Syrians since the onset of the conflict in March 2011. 

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