Syria has been firing mortar bombs near the country’s border with Jordan in order to prevent refugees from fleeing, according to the United Nations humanitarian chief.
The Humanitarian chief, Valerie Amos, stated that the shelling is just part of a civil was that is “getting worse day by day,” reports Reuters.
Amos spoke from the Jordanian refugee camp of Zaatari on Tuesday, saying that she visited the border on Monday night and was able to see “what was definitely mortar fire on the Syrian side of the border to try to prevent people from crossing.”
About 40,000 people have been killed in Syria since the conflict began 20 months ago as peaceful protests against the regime of Bashar al-Assad.
About half a million refugees have since escaped to neighboring countries as the fighting continues to spread. Amos stated:
“We need the agreement by all those involved in the conflict to ensure they will not in any way bomb or shell or fight [refugees].”
The Chicago Tribune notes that at least 30,000 people currently live in the Zaatari refugee camp, half of whom are children. The camp has grown to resemble a shanty town and some tents are in the process of being replaced with about 2,000 more permanent prefabricated homes.
Amos spoke with some of the refugees at the camp as well, some of whom are concerned about not having enough blankets as winter closes in. She stated during the visit, “You can see the anger, fear and resentment. There is considerable trauma here.”
World powers are conflicted on how to handle the crisis in Syria. The UN Security Council has previously voted on what to do, but Assad’s allies Russia and China have vetoed three UN Security Council resolutions already. Amos stated:
“We will do all we can to help the refugees and people of Syria but this requires the international community to work together to find a political solution which meets the needs of the Syrian people.”
With reports that Syria is firing mortars at the border region to stop refugees from leaving, it is understandable to agree with Amos’ assertions that the fighting in the Middle Eastern nation grows worse every day.