Close sites icon close
Search form

Search for the country site.

Country profile

Country website

Iraq: small numbers trickling into Jordan and Syria

Briefing notes

Iraq: small numbers trickling into Jordan and Syria

8 April 2003

Small numbers of Iraqis and third country nationals are trickling across borders and into Jordan and Syria. In Jordan, an Iraqi woman and her teenage son were allowed to enter the country late on Monday after having spent two days at the no-man's-land tented camp. They are currently being accommodated in Ruwaished. The two Iraqi arrivals joined an Iraqi woman suffering from a serious illness who was allowed to enter Jordan earlier on Monday.

Twenty Palestinians who were held up in no-man's-land on Jordan's border with Iraq were moved from the border and into Ruwaished this morning. UNHCR had met with the Minister of Interior on Monday about the delays that had been faced by the arrivals and we are pleased to have seen a speedy response on the part of the authorities. Some of the 33 Palestinians who were allowed to enter Jordan over recent weeks were allowed on Monday to travel to Amman. Also in Ruwaished, UNHCR has undertaken initial screening of some 70 Somali nationals who are being accommodated at the Red Crescent's TCN camp. Meanwhile, eastern Jordan was swept by strong winds early today that destroyed three prefabricated warehouses at the Red Crescent's camp and one UNHCR tented warehouse. Due to the high amount of wind-blown sand, visibility in Ruwaished is low this morning. Staff are currently conducting a damage assessment.

Six Iraqis entered Syria on Monday via the Al Yarubiyeh border crossing, located to the north-west of Iraq's principal northern city of Mosul. As the Syrian government has adopted a flexible, open-border policy and does not oblige new arrivals to stay in UNHCR's El Hol camp, they travelled onwards from the border, apparently to Damascus. A group of 14 Iraqis who arrived on 23 March were similarly allowed to proceed to the Syrian capital.

Southwards, at Syria's Al Tanf border crossing, 11 persons arrived on Monday, both Iraqis and foreign nationals. They are being transported this morning from the border transit site to the El Hol camp.

UNHCR staff based in al Hasakah are travelling this morning together with MSF [Médecins Sans Frontières] and IOM [International Organization for Migration] staff to the Al Yarubiyeh border crossing to check on the preparations at the transit site and security in the area. Explosions on Sunday rocked Al Yarubiyeh when a small village only a few hundred metres inside Iraq was apparently bombed. A similar bombing Sunday opposite the Abu Kamal border point, about a kilometre inside Iraq, forced UNHCR and IOM to urgently transfer several Iraqi and third country nationals from the nearby transit site.