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12,000 Syrian Refugees Stranded in Desert on Jordan Border

© REUTERS / Muhammad HamedSyrian refugees walk at the Al Zaatari refugee camp in the Jordanian city of Mafraq, near the border with Syria, December 7, 2014
Syrian refugees walk at the Al Zaatari refugee camp in the Jordanian city of Mafraq, near the border with Syria, December 7, 2014 - Sputnik International
The UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) has called on King Abdullah II of Jordan to let the masses of displaced persons enter the country.

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Jordanian officials have been urged to allow the refugees, who fled war-torn Syria, to enter, prioritizing as the most vulnerable babies under the age of six months, pregnant women and the elderly.

According to UNHCR, 11,000 refugees are stuck in Rukban, eight kilometers from the place where the Syrian, Iraqi and Jordanian borders meet. Another 1,000 displaced persons are in Hadalat on the Syrian-Jordanian border, 90 kilometers further west.

According to the report, the stranded people are in remote and hard-to-reach desert areas that lack water, shade and vegetation.

"The health situation is deteriorating, with increasing signs of diarrhoea, vomiting and acute malnutrition among children," the statement says.

"If refugees are not admitted to Jordan and substantial assistance not provided, the lives of refugees will be at risk in the coming winter."

Human Rights Watch reports aid workers are short of resources to help the mounting number of people at the border, and that delays in a decision to move them into Jordanian transit areas is tantamount to death. 20,000 people are expected to be stuck at the Jordanian border by January 2016.

According to the UNHCR's Registered Syrians in Jordan report, as of November 30 the total number of refugees from Syria in the country was 632,228. The UNHCR applauded Jordan's "tremendous contribution" in hosting asylum seekers, and outlined the pressure put on the country's infrastructure, security and economy, as the the refugee influx shows no immediate sign of waning.

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Amman puts the total number of refugees it hosts at 1.4 million, roughly 20% of the country's population.

Until mid-2013, Jordan allowed Syrians to enter the country through all of its informal border crossings in the east and west, though it refused entry to many single Syrian men crossing without relatives, Palestinian refugees from Syria, and undocumented people. Most Syrians crossed at informal western entry points in the Daraa governorate near the Syrian towns of Tel Shihab, Hayat, and Nassib.

© Photo : UNHCR External Statistical Report on UNHCR Registered Syrians
External Statistical Report on UNHCR Registered Syrians - Sputnik International
External Statistical Report on UNHCR Registered Syrians
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