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Authorities wrangle over stranded refugees in Syria

Reporter: Stephanie Freid 丨 CCTV.com

10-12-2016 10:21 BJT

Syria's humanitarian crisis has increasingly become a global issue, with nearly five million people having fled the war torn country since 2011. Tens of thousands of them have been stuck in a kind of no man's land, at risk of starvation and disease.

As CCTV's correspondent reports, one solution under discussion won't come that easy.

75,000 Syrian refugees stuck in no man's land for more than two years. They can't go back to Syria Jordan won't let them in.

"The living conditions for the people stranded at the berm are dire, with no access to basic resources such as food and water. With over 75 percent of the population estimated to be women and children, they desperately need assistance and support," said Stephen O'Brien, UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs & Emergency Relief co-ordinator.

Without adequate food, water or medical supplies, they are suffering from malnutrition, dehydration and disease. In August, aid agencies using cranes delivered a one-month's supply of food, water and hygiene kits

"We had a very limited timeframe. Those people were cut off assistance - all kinds of humanitarian assistance - since the tragic border attack on the twenty-first of June. So they were basically surviving on almost nothing for the past two months," said Shada Moghraby, World Food Program spokesperson.

Jordan sealed the border in June after a suicide bomber among the refugees killed seven Jordanian security personnel. The international community has been scrambling since to find ways to get supplies to the isolated Syrians.

An aid agency source tells me that within the coming week, there will be another major aid distribution to the stranded refugees. That same source doesn't want to provide details other than to say that this distribution is going to be very different from the previous one.

That may be due to a reported provisional agreement between the UN and Jordan calling for a buffer zone.

Points of that agreement include a new aid distribution point closer to Syria patrolled by Jordanian trained Syrians, fencing erected to contain movement and thirty nine million dollars in humanitarian aid to Jordan.

As part of the deal: Jordan will not allow any new refugees into the country. If the plan succeeds, it will mean much-needed supplies reach the tens of thousands, stuck in open desert, before harsh winter weather sets in. 

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