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Syrians stranded at Jordan's northeast border face a dangerous second winter. They are currently located in a vast, arid desert known as the "Berm," which can drop to below-freezing temperatures. This is expected to have major implications on their health.
In response, Médecins Sans Frontières/Doctors Without Bordes (MSF) again reiterates calls for direct access to those stranded at the Berm, in order to assess and respond to their medical needs and ensure the equal provision of quality medical care.
Five months since border closure
Five months have passed since Jordan sealed its borders with Syria. This decision has seriously impacted access to basic medical care for over 75,000 Syrians, three-quarters of whom are women and children.
Stuck in the desert for over two years, humanitarian actors have been unable to provide proper assistance to these people even before the border closure - a situation which has become even more dismal.
Over 75,000 Syrians in the Berm stand powerless in the face of political decisions, made by both the Jordanian government and the international community.
250km west of the Berm, at Jordan's northwest borders with Syria, war-wounded Syrians continue to be denied access to the Jordanian border town of Ramtha.
The border closure has halted the medical evacuation of wounded Syrians from the Dara’a governorate in south Syria to Ramtha hospital, where we have been running an emergency surgical project, providing lifesaving medical treatment to Syrians injured in the conflict, for more than three years.
Today, despite reports of the intensification of violence and fighting in southern Syria, our wards in Ramtha stand almost empty.
Should the situation at the borders remain unchanged, we fear that our ongoing programmes in Jordan, which address the medical needs of war-wounded Syrians, could be forced to close.
We strongly call on the Jordanian government to remove barriers imposed on the provision of lifesaving medical care by allowing the medical evacuation of war-wounded Syrians, especially the most vulnerable; women and children, to MSF’s Ramtha Emergency Surgical Project.