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Jordan intends to declare north of country ‘disaster area’

Published: Updated:

Jordan is intending to declare the north of the country a “disaster area,” Jordanian Prime Minister Abdullah Ensour said in remarks published on Wednesday.

The prime minister voiced concerns over a wide-scale flow of Syrian refugees into Jordan as a result of possible flare-up of major armed confrontations in Syria.

The number of Syrians in Jordan has exceeded one million, including 450,000 refugees and more than 600,000 citizens who came with their families before violence surged in their country.

Last week, Amman said it will continue to operate an open-door policy towards Syrian refugees, despite the economic burden on Jordan, and the alleged presence of pro-regime sleeper cells in the country.

Although Jordan hosts hundreds of thousands of Syrian refugees, the government says it is firmly against any intervention in Syria’s internal affairs.

“In practice, we didn’t change our position, and we’re still defending our borders. We offer humanitarian assistance to the refugees,” said Jordanian Information Minister Sameeh al-Maaytah.

“We refuse firmly any external military intervention, and we refuse any Jordanian intervention on Syrian soil.”

According to the United Nations, at least 70,000 people have been killed in Syria since the March 2011 uprising against President Bashar al-Assad.