September 11, 2013
Nayef al-Sari works with the Daraa Media Office, an independent organization working toward a civil state in Syria. A total of 40 media activists work for the DMO in Syria’s southern province of Daraa. Al-Sari spoke with Abdulrahman al-Masri about rumors of thousands of Syrians stuck close to the border, unable to enter Jordan.
Q: Since you are close to border, are you witnessing migration from Damascus and Outer Damascus to Jordan?
A: In the Tal al-Shahab area (a few miles from Jordan’s border), there are huge numbers from Damascus and its suburbs, but the border crossings are closed and entering Jordan is not allowed.
Also Nasib (the official border point between Syria and Jordan) is crowded with forced migration from Damascus and its suburbs.
Q: Are numbers of displaced people increasing after the chemical shelling of Ghouta?
A: Yes, noticeably.
Q: What are you hearing about why they can’t enter Jordan?
A: [Opposition] news is reporting border closures to Syrians because the number of people in Zaatari camp (in north Jordan, about 10 miles from the Syrian border) exceeds 120,000.
A new camp is under construction near Zarqa city (in Jordan) which is one reason. The second reason we are hearing is because a Jordanian decision to stop Syrians from entering for 45 days. Even the wounded have some difficulties entering.
Q: What are numbers of escapees from Damascus and numbers of people stuck in Dara’ villages?
A: In Daraa it’s very hard to count. In Nasib and Tal Shihab, there are about 8,000 people.
Q: What are the conditions like for those who are displaced?
A: In Tal Shahab and Nasib, most of them are in schools opened to shelter them. Some use the ground between trees as their beds and the sky as their blankets. In Tal Shihab, food, basic survival materials and babies’ milk are in short supply, the medical staff’s hands are tied and can’t treat the displaced who are sick or experiencing worsening medical conditions due to migration. Recently there was a shortage of drinking water problem but that was solved.