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Jordanians Are Calling For Their Government To #OpenTheBorders To Thousands Of Displaced Refugees

The hashtag, #افتحوا_الحدود, or #OpenTheDoor, began trending in Jordan as tens of thousands of Syrians fled the latest violence there.

Posted on June 28, 2018, at 12:50 p.m. ET

Jordanians are calling on their government to reopen their country's borders as tens of thousands of Syrians are displaced by the latest rounds of fighting.

Ahmad Al-msalam / AFP / Getty Images

The Jordanian border to Syria has been closed since 2014.

Jeff J Mitchell / Getty Images

Earlier this week Jordan's government reiterated that it would not accept any more Syrian refugees, drawing condemnation from international groups.

"We have received enough numbers of Syrian refugees; we already have a large number and we simply cannot receive more," Minister of State for Media Affairs Jumana Ghunaimat told the Jordan Times. Other ministers have called on the international community to step in and do more to ease the burden placed on Jordan.

The small country is currently hosting an estimated 1.3 million Syrian refugees, but there are long-standing tensions within Jordan about the number of refugees inside the country and the strain that it is placing on its infrastructure.

Now, Jordanians are calling for the government to let in the Syrians walking toward the border under the hashtag #افتحوا_الحدود, which literally translates to "OpenTheDoors."

إلى السوريين عمومًا وأهلنا في #درعا خصوصًا، أنا أردنية وإغلاق الحدود لا يمثلني ولا يمثل كل مواطن أردني ضميره حي، أنتم إخوة لنا ونحن نشعر بوجعكم ونتألم لخوفكم ونبكي لموتكم. بيوتنا مفتوحة لكم ونقول لأصحاب القرار في وطننا #افتحوا_الحدود واحفظوا ما تبقى من إنسانيتكم.

"To the Syrians in general and our parents in #Daraa particularly: I am Jordanian and the closure of the borders does not represent me. Every Jordanian citizen represents a living conscience. You are our brothers and we feel your pain and anguish for your fear and cry for your death.

"Our houses are open to you and [we] tell the decision-makers in our home #OpenTheDoors and save the rest of your humanity."

#Jordan-ians launch Open The Borders hashtag to let #Syria-ns fleeing #Deraa offensive come in. We're already poor, but we'll share our bread with them, they say. Reject govt decision & say it's shameful. #افتحوا_الحدود

Imagine it was you. Imagine it was your family. #افتحوا_الحدود 😢

#إفتحوا_الحدود مش عشان بيوم من الايام ممكن يصير فينا مثلهم لا والله افتحوها لإنه اغلاق الحدود في وجه الهارب من الموت يعتبر مشاركة في قتله.

"#OpenTheDoors not because one day it might happen to us.

"No, I swear to God, open [the border] because to close the border in the face of a fugitive from death is like being involved in their murder."

افتحوها عشان ربنا يفتحها علينا ارحموهم عشان ربنا يرحمنا #افتحوا_الحدود #درعا_تحت_النار

"Open it so that God opens it for us. Have mercy on them so that God has mercy on us #OpenTheDoor #DaraaUnderFire."

ما يحصل غير مقبول ولا بأي شكل من الأشكال #افتحوا_الحدود للهاربين من الموت والقصف ! أهل حوران امتدادنا العائلي والعربي والانساني ..

"What is happening is unacceptable. In any way [we must] #OpenTheDoors to the fugitives from death and bombardment! The people of Houran are our family, Arab and human."

كل انسان حقه يهرب من الموت ومن مناطق الحروب واللي بيسلبه هالحق شريك في قتله، فش ظرف سياسي او اجتماعي او اقتصادي ممكن يبرر اغلاق الحدود بوجه شخص هارب من مجرمين بيقصفوا عشوائي #افتحوا_الحدود

"Each person has the right to escape from death and from war zones and whoever denies him this right is his partner in killing.

"No political or social or economical circumstance that can justify closing the borders in the face of a fugitive from criminals #OpenTheDoors."

The refusal to open the borders comes as the Syrian government, supported by Russian forces, launches an offensive on the rebel-held town of Daraa in the country's southwest region.

Ahmad Al-msalam / AFP / Getty Images

Humanitarian groups have warned that as many as 45,000 people have been displaced because of the fighting, with many streaming toward the southwestern border with Jordan.

Since the offensive began 11 days ago, more than 90 civilians have been killed in the fighting between rebels and the pro-government forces, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights watchdog group. There have also been reports of hospitals being targeted.

Abd Al Rahman, a media activist from Daraa who is currently based in Jordan, told BuzzFeed News over WhatsApp that the number of people fleeing Daraa was "scary." He said that "local councils in Daraa have declared that this would turn to a humanitarian crisis if the situation escalated."

People still stuck in Daraa, Rahman said, were "calling the Jordanian government to open the borders and receive women, children and elderly. They started campaigns, protests, and shoutouts at the borders but no one answered them."

"Some decided to stay, others decided to flee," Rahman said. "They can’t do anything but to wait for either quick or slow death."

International humanitarian organizations have warned of an impending crisis.

Mohamad Abazeed / AFP / Getty Images

The last time Jordan shut the border in 2014, it led to a humanitarian crisis as tens of thousands of people — mostly Syrians — were trapped in a lawless no-man's-land outside of the country. There, they set up makeshift camps, which were inaccessible for international humanitarian aid workers and controlled by criminal gangs.

Staffan de Mistura, Syria envoy for the United Nations, said the consequences of the latest violence could be worse than the humanitarian disasters of Aleppo and Eastern Ghouta.

“Let us be aware of what this would mean, if the south-west sees a full-scale battle to the end, it could be like eastern Aleppo and Eastern Ghouta combined together,” de Mistura told the United Nations Security Council Wednesday.

On Thursday, Jan Egeland, Secretary General of the Norwegian Refugee Council, also urged Jordan to reconsider its decision.

"There is no other place to go" - speaking to press in Geneva, @NRC_Egeland appeals to Jordan to keep border open for Syrians fleeing south, as escalating conflict in #Syria's Dera'a & Quneitra paralyzes humanitarian operations.

A BuzzFeed News investigation, in partnership with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, based on thousands of documents the government didn't want you to see.