Urgent appeal to Jordan to save stranded Syrian women needing emergency c-sections

Urgent appeal to Jordan to save stranded Syrian women needing emergency c-sections
Five pregnant women are stranded on the Jordan border and in urgent need for C-section operations.
3 min read
25 March, 2020
Rukban camp lies close to the Jordan border [Getty]
Five pregnant Syrian women who are in urgent need of C-section operations are trapped in a remote refugee border camp close to the Jordan border, after Amman cut medical access to the stranded refugees, activists and NGO workers have said.

The camp's political office issued a humanitarian appeal to Jordanian authorities this week after the Lulusiya point was closed - the only access to emergency medical support for the refugees - due to the spread of the coronavirus in the kingdom.

"Instead of providing health directions and quarantine for coronavirus prevention [Jordan] closed its doors since a week, while there are critical cases requiring quick surgical intervention - cases requiring C-section," one resident said in a video appeal on Twitter. 

The Al-Rukban camp is situated in a buffer zone that straddles the Syria-Jordan border, home to between 50,000 to 70,000 refugees. 

It has suffered some of the worst deprivations during the nine-year Syria war, particularly after Jordan closed access to aid from its side of the border after a fatal attack on security forces by Islamic State group militants.

The camp is also under siege by the Syrian regime. Despite offers from Russia for "safe passage" to their homes, the vast majority of Rukban residents have refused fearing repercussions from security services.

The situation at Rukban worsened when the camp's medical access point was closed last week, blocking emergency medical services to the pregnant women, due to the coronavirus outbreak in Jordan.

NGO workers and activists said that these measures could be tantamount to a death sentence for the pregnant women and their unborn children, who are in urgent need of C-section operations.

Authorities at the camp have appealed to Amman to allow the women access to hospitals in Jordan.

"We call to our brothers in the sisterly Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan as king, government and people, and we all hope and trust they will help our people in Rukban Camp," the camp's political authority said in a statement.

"We hope that these women's cases can be seen as emergencies and allowed to enter Jordan immediately, under whatever security procedures deemed necessary, by the Jordanian government."

NGO workers say that the US military at the nearby Al-Tanf camp have offered to transfer the women safely to Jordan if Amman accepts to treat them.

Activists have suggested the women could be tested for the coronavirus before they enter the country.

Syria has only one confirmed coronavirus case so far, in the capital Damascus.

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