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Refugees across border ‘came escorted’

By Omar Obeidat , Khetam Malkawi - Feb 07,2016 - Last updated at Feb 07,2016

AMMAN — Syrian refugees camped in no-man’s land on the Jordanian border came from Syria’s northeast, which  is controlled by Daesh terror group, and they arrived to the border area “smoothly” as they were “escorted”, Prime Minister Abdullah Ensour said on Sunday.

The ease with which they travelled through the war-torn country made Jordanian authorities “suspicious”, thus requiring them to carefully vet the newcomers before allowing them in, Ensour said.

“We have not stopped receiving refugees,” the premier said during a press conference on results of the London conference. However, he noted that the country has the right to vet refugees before allowing them entry.

 

“We do what the European countries do: they screen refugees, and this is what we do,” the premier said in response to a question on the status of the 16,000 Syrians who are camped in the border area between Jordan and Syria. 

The government said there are 16,000 Syrians in camps situated a few hundred metres from the Jordanian side in “no man’s land”, fleeing danger zones in northern and eastern Syria that are in fact closer to other neighbouring countries than to Jordan. 

According to a tweet by Andrew Harper, the UNHCR representative to Jordan, the number of Syrians who are in this camp has increased to 20,000.

In previous remarks to The Jordan Times, Mohammad Momani, the government’s spokesperson, said Jordan allows the entry of an average of 50 to 100 vulnerable Syrian refugees from the “border camp” into the country daily, while the provision of relief aid and care is continuous.  

 

“Jordan maintains its open door policy…[but] we do have security concerns, and this group specifically came from the far northeast of Syria, areas that are controlled by Daesh,” Momani explained, adding that the country has intelligence suggesting that there are Daesh sympathisers and even members in this group. “We take this issue very seriously,” he said. 

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