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Wet weather fails to slow Syrian refugee influx

By Taylor Luck - Jan 31,2013 - Last updated at Jan 31,2013

AMMAN — Rainy weather failed to slow the refugee exodus on Thursday, with some 1,900 Syrians crossing into Jordan early Thursday, pushing the total number of new arrivals in January to a record 62,000, according to the UN.

Some 100 injured Syrians were among Thursday’s influx, security sources said, most of whom were transferred to hospitals in the border cities of Ramtha and Mafraq.

Violence across Syria continued to spiral on Thursday, with the London-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reporting over 60 deaths in clashes in Daraa, Homs, Hama, Deir Ezzor and the Damascene countryside.

Although Damascus’ alleged “indiscriminate” shelling of residential centres across the country continued to drive thousands to the Jordanian-Syrian border, activists said they expect the number of refugee crossings to dwindle in the next few days in the face of worsening weather conditions.

“Many of the valley routes have become un-passable and there are dangers of mudslides — most people are just stuck,” said Abu Hani Al Darawi, a Free Syrian Army coordinator stationed near the border region.

“Tonight is going to be a cold night for thousands of women and children.”

As of late Thursday, some 14,000 internally displaced Syrians had amassed along the border with Jordan.

Thursday’s crossings came within hours after the international community agreed to meet the UN’s $1.5 billion emergency Syrian refugee aid appeal.

Relief officials say the funds are vital to extend basic services for a forecast one million Syrian refugees through June.

With the secured funds, Jordanian officials are expected to expand and establish new refugee facilities, with the country’s second refugee camp — a complex of prefabricated trailers and tents east of the city of Zarqa slated to open early next week.

Despite the record exodus, Jordan continues to follow an open-border policy that has led to the influx of over 335,000 Syrians whose presence is projected to cost the Kingdom some $800 million in 2013. 

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