Jordan to allow aid to refugees stuck on border

Syrian refugees stand at the Zaatari refugee camp, located close to the northern Jordanian city of Mafraq near the border with Syria, on July 14, 2016 (AFP Photo/Khalil Mazraawi) (AFP/File)

Amman (AFP) - Jordan said Monday it will allow aid deliveries to tens of thousands of refugees on its border with Syria, which has been closed since a deadly attack on soldiers in June.

"In the coming weeks we will resume allowing humanitarian organisations to deliver aid to those stranded on the border," Information Minister Mohamed Momani, who is also government spokesman, told AFP.

The United Nations said in September that more than 70,000 Syrians were trapped in no-man's land near the Rukban border crossing in "dire" conditions.

Jordan closed its entire desert border with Syria and Iraq, preventing aid deliveries, after a suicide bombing killed seven of its soldiers near the Rukban crossing on June 21.

The Islamic State group claimed the blast, and Jordanian officials said the bomber had come from a camp just across the border.

Since June, Jordan has allowed humanitarian organisations to send aid to the refugees just once, in early August, lifting it across the frontier using drones and cranes.

Momani said Monday that the government would allow humanitarian organisations to deliver aid by the same method, to be received and distributed by "elders and mayors" on the Syrian side.

He added that it was a temporary measure.

"The borders will remain a closed military zone," he said.

"The problem of those stranded there is an international one, not just a problem for Jordan.

"The United Nations and the international community should find alternative ways of delivering aid," said the minister.

The kingdom has repeatedly said it is not receiving enough international help to share the burden of hosting Syrian refugees.

It says over 1.4 million Syrians are on its territory, of which 630,000 are registered with the UN.