After several days of unrelenting Russian air strikes over the Syrian-Jordanian border, the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi issued a statement calling on Jordan to open its borders to Syrian refugees on Thursday.
“Given the immediate dangers, I am advocating for granting temporary refuge in Jordan to those in need of safety and for the international community to provide immediate and substantive support to Jordan, in a spirit of solidarity and responsibility sharing,” said Grandi.
Although Russia, Jordan, and the United States agreed last year to make Southwest Syria a “de-escalation zone,” the area has been hit by roughly 600 air strikes in 15 hours, according to The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.
The UNHCR’s statement reports that some 320,000 people are now displaced, including humanitarian workers who have provided aid throughout the conflict. Many civilians are injured and sick, and security concerns have made it difficult to provide proper care to people in need.
Grandi continued, “I call on all parties to redouble efforts to cease hostilities, to allow humanitarian actors to deliver life-saving assistance, shelter and evacuate the wounded.”
The latest attacks are part of President Bashar Assad’s campaign to regain the Deraa territory, which could potentially lead to a reopening of the vital trade route through the Nassib crossing into Jordan. State media claimed Assad’s forces had taken Saida, a town about six miles east of Deraa. According to The Observatory, around 150 civilians have been killed thus far during the campaign.
Jordan and other neighboring countries have continued to pour aid into Syria as the violence has spread. However, with a long-term political solution nowhere in site, Jordan may need to open its borders to refugees to stem the flow of this humanitarian crisis.