Tens of thousands of Syrians seeking refuge in Jordan are facing a frustrating dilemma as they have slim hopes of returning home with their stay in Jordan under threat.
Jordan’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Nasser Judeh said more than 140,000 Syrians have fled to Jordan since early 2011 when mass protests against the Syrian government erupted.
On July 29, the Jordanian government opened its first camp for Syrian refugees in the city of Mafraq on the Jordan-Syria border.
“Cyber City”, once an industrial complex on the edge of the border city of al-Ramtha in northwest Jordan, has now turned into a transit camp for refugees from Syria as well.
Over 600 refugees live at the camp, waiting for their papers to be processed before they can move on.
However, for the 135 Palestinians from Syria, moving is not an option.
They are being held indefinitely. With police surrounding the perimeter, they say they feel like they are in prison.
Um Sameer, a Palestinian refugee from Syria, said: “We want our rights as a human. We want to be treated like humans, to be allowed to go outside and live our lives. We want our sons to be educated and have professions. But they are forgetting them now. We don't like to be dependent.”
The Jordanian government says the Palestinians of Syria are treated differently because they cannot return to their homeland. However, others point out that it is because another big wave of Palestinian refugees would risk turning Jordan into a de facto Palestinian state.
Critics claim Jordan's fear runs so deep the government is now preventing Palestinians from entering the country from Syria.
“There is a large migration of refugees to Jordan, huge numbers, especially from Syria. But there is coordination between Jordan and the Free Syrian Army to prevent any Palestinians among them from crossing into Jordan”, said Mohammed al-Hajouj, an independent Member of Parliament.
Although the government strongly denies the charge, the atmosphere now is enough to leave Um Sameer and other Palestinians in “Cyber City” wondering exactly what their future holds.