From Al Jazeera:
Jordan closed its border with Syria in June 2016 after a car bomb attack killed seven Jordanian border guards. Currently, there are nearly 50,000 Syrians stranded at this border known as Berm and Hadalat where airstrikes have been reported in the past few days. People here are lacking food, water, and healthcare with some living off of only flour and water.
UN humanitarian aid is distributed along this border by the Jordanian military, a Jordanian contractor, and also armed men on the Syrian side of the border. Because of the recent airstrikes, the UN is worried about the safety of those stranded there and is calling on all parties to protect the people from harm.
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Syrian refugee patients from the makeshift Rukban camp, which lies in no-man’s-land off the border between Syria and Jordan in the remote northeast, cross over to visit a UN-operated medical clinic immediately on the Jordanian-side for checkups, on March 1, 2017. Conditions in the Rukban camp deteriorated sharply after Jordan sealed its border almost a year prior, following a cross-border jihadist attack that killed seven Jordanian border guards in June 2016. / AFP PHOTO / KHALIL MAZRAAWI (Photo credit should read KHALIL MAZRAAWI/AFP/Getty Images)
Why is this area called Berm? From NPR:
It’s a camp made up of thousands of tents, a desert no-man’s land along the border situated between two berms. Jordan says that ISIS has infiltrated the camp and so has not allowed any aid workers to enter.
“The United Nations staff doesn’t have access to the no-man’s land, so the assistance has to be provided from this end,” Helene Daubelcour, a spokeswoman for the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees, tells NPR at a U.N.-funded clinic on the Jordanian side of the border, more than a mile from the camp. “The area is now a closed military zone, so we are helping as close as we can — but we cannot go on the other side of the berm.”
From the closest point that aid workers are allowed to go, the tents in the camp are visible only as white dots in the distance.
Children can visit the UNICEF-funded feeding center at the clinic on the Jordanian side of the border, but only if military personnel bring them from the camp. To get food into the camp, the UN drops it in using cranes. Water is pumped in from Jordanian reservoirs.
Only refugees who are brought to a checkpoint by Rukban community leaders and are searched by Jordanian border guards are allowed access to the U.N. medical clinic. The border guards transport patients to the clinic and then take them back again to the checkpoint after they are treated.
The U.N. has set up a center in the neutral zone, where refugee community leaders are responsible for distributing U.N.-provided food. But the last delivery of a month’s supply of food for the refugees ran out more than a month ago. People are relying, when they can, on stockpiled food, are using whatever money they have to buy more — or, as with the malnourished children, they’re not eating at all.
From Syria Direct:
The recent airstrikes that the UN is so worried about lasted multiple days in a row, sending people running from this already remote camp. It’s been reported that the airstrikes hit only 100 meters, or around 325 feet, away from the camp.
Roughly 50 people from the Hadalat camp left on Tuesday as warplanes reportedly circled above, arriving at the similarly remote, poorly supplied Rukban border camp in rebel territory 120km northeast, a Rukban-based citizen journalist named Emad Abu a-Sham told Syria Direct.
The regime’s advances in recent days now threaten both camps, as the regained territory in southeastern Suwayda cuts off a number of trade and smuggling routes between rebel-held southern Daraa province and the eastern desert region where the Hadalat and Rukban camps are located. Both encampments relied on the smuggling routes for vital food and medical supplies.
Before the border crossing closed~~~Embed from Getty Images
TOPSHOT – Syrian refugees, stuck between the Jordanian and Syrian borders, wait to cross into Jordan, at the Hadalat border crossing, east of the Jordanian capital Amman, on January 14, 2016. The number of Syrian refugees stuck on the border with Jordan has climbed from 12,000 to nearly 16,000 since December, the kingdom’s government spokesman said on January 11. / AFP / KHALIL MAZRAAWI / TO GO WITH AFP STORY BY MUSSA HATTAR (Photo credit should read KHALIL MAZRAAWI/AFP/Getty Images)Embed from Getty Images
A member of the Jordanian army scans newly arrived Syrian refugees as they wait to cross to the Jordanian side of the Hadalat border crossing, a military zone east of the capital Amman, after arriving from Syria on May 4, 2016. According to the Jordanian Commander of the Border Guards Brigadier Saber Al-Mahayreh, around 5000 Syrians fleeing from recent attacks on the northern Syrian city of Aleppo are trying to cross into Jordan in search of safety, most of whom are exhausted and desperately in need of help and medical treatment. / AFP PHOTO / KHALIL MAZRAAWI (Photo credit should read KHALIL MAZRAAWI/AFP/Getty Images)
Between 60 and 70,000 Syrians are stranded in a makeshift refugee camp in Rukban, in a no-man’s land between the Syrian and Jordanian borders. The humanitarian conditions are described as dire. DW’s Tania Krämer reports.