More Syrian refugees step off a bus in Jordan, into uncertainty. The UN has said 30,000 have arrived since the start of this year. Zaatari, the main camp, has been welcoming them every day, but what this means is families setting up in cold tents.
More than 4,000 people were taken in last Thursday, 2,000 more during the night. The Syrian conflict is in its 22nd month, with no prospect of returning to peace soon.
The Kingdom of Jordan is now host to 320,000 refugees from its neighbour. This is half the total number spread around the region. The official count in Zaatari is 61,000.
Much larger Turkey says its camps are filling up as fast as they can be built. Jordan is struggling to cope.
Abu Hamid, a grandfather who fled Deraa for Jordan, has not seen most of his family in months.
Abu Hamid said: “My family were hurt when shells fell on our house. Some of my children are in Lebanon and some are in Syria. They couldn’t get out. We could only save ourselves and the little children.”
The security in the camp, in spite of winter suffering, is the refugees’ best option – or only option, said a mother of six.
Nesreen said: “Things in Syria are really bad. Really, really bad. We can’t go back, because of the children, the shelling, the fear, the destruction. We can’t go. We have to accept our life here.”
The UN expects the total number of refugees from Syria reaching the neighbouring countries of Lebanon, Iraq, Jordan and Turkey to reach 1.1 million by June if the fighting goes on.
An Arab League delegation visited Syrian refugees in Lebanon on Sunday. Its head, Faiqa Saleh, later spoke of deplorable conditions, in spite of the efforts of the host countries. With tens of thousands more pressing to flee across the borders, she will present a report this Wednesday at a donors conference in Kuwait.
The UN says it hopes to collect 1.1 billion euros to use for humanitarian support for the Syrians seeking safety outside their country.