Posted: Thursday, 27 September 2012
The Canadian Labour Congress has seen first-hand the effects of the escalating conflict in Syria. Representatives of the CLC, as part of our overseas development programming work, recently were given entrance to the Za'atari Refugee Camp in northern Jordan, where an average of 2,000 refugees are arriving daily, fleeing the escalating conflict in Syria.
The Jordanian government estimates that there are 150,000 Syrians in Jordan. Fleeing Syrians used to move into apartments, but now all new arrivals are being sent directly to the newly-opened Za'atari Camp, which is a tent city in the middle of the windblown northern Jordanian desert where incessant dust chokes the reported 30,000 inhabitants. The new camp saw a surge of refugees in August, which was one of the bloodiest months of violence in Syria.
Although conditions are improving daily, refugees have rioted against the poor conditions which can only expect to become even more strained as more refugees arrive daily. Jordan is also concerned about the impact the refugees are having on limited water supplies, housing, schools and hospitals in the area. Other neighbouring countries, Turkey and Lebanon, are also hard-pressed to provide unlimited support for the refugees. Syria's Al-Assad regime has rebuked calls from Turkey to establish safe buffer zones for civilians inside Syria.
Syria's neighbours require international support to accommodate Syrian civilians fleeing the increasing violence in their country, where an estimated 20,000 have been killed since the start of the conflict in 2011. We applaud the Canadian government's first steps to provide $6.5 million in assistance to Jordan for dealing with the refugee crisis.
Check out our video footage taken at the Za'atari Refugee Camp last month.