Thousands of Syrians stranded along the border with Jordan faced food and water shortages on Saturday as heavy shelling in southern Syria continued to prevent hundreds from seeking refuge in the Kingdom.
According to activists and rebel officials, around 5,000 civilians fleeing violence in central Damascus were prevented from entering Jordan, bringing to 60,000 the total number of refugees stranded along the Jordanian-Syrian border.
Local residents expressed concern over the fate of thousands of stranded refugees who have flooded southern Syrian towns and villages in recent weeks, many of whom have been left without food, water or shelter for days.
“We can no longer even offer a loaf of stale bread to a single family and hundreds are coming each day,” said Ahmed Al Saad, an activist with the Local Coordination Committees in the border town of Tal Shihab, which has reportedly received some 15,000 displaced Syrians since the alleged chemical weapon attacks late last month.
“If we cannot secure their entry into Jordan this week, hundreds will die from hunger or disease,” he said.
Activists say the mass influx has placed a heavy burden on border towns and communities that have been reeling from a two-month siege by regime forces, leaving them without electricity, and basic food and medical supplies.
Rebel officials confirmed that heavy shelling on Saturday cut off main access routes to Jordan for the seventh straight week, but despite the blockade, thousands of Syrians continued to flee towards Jordan out of fear of renewed chemical attacks.
According to the Free Syrian Army (FSA), some 2,000 civilians left their homes in the towns of Ghouta Sharqiyyeh and Doma near Damascus for rebel strongholds in southern Syria en route to Jordan.
“Although they have no way of crossing into Jordan, everyone knows the border is the closest to safety they can get,” said Abu Mohammed Al Dimashqi, an FSA commander based near Ghouta Sharqiyyeh.