AMMAN — Dozens of Syrians were injured along the Kingdom’s northern border on Sunday in an upswing of violence that sources warn is raising tensions between Amman and Damascus.
According to a military source stationed in the border region, 30 Syrians were injured when Syrian military forces opened fire on some 500 refugees attempting to cross into Jordan early Sunday.
Although authorities managed to transfer 20 of the injured to the nearby Ramtha Public Hospital, three of them died of their wounds, according to Ramtha hospital sources, raising to 10 the number of Syrians killed in the border region since Friday.
“Before we were receiving injured Syrians every other day, now it seems they are coming every single hour,” said the source at the hospital, who declined to be named as he was not authorised to speak to the press.
“It is beginning to look more like war along the border.”
Sunday’s incident caps what sources are calling the “bloodiest week” at the border since the start of the 17-month-old crisis, with tensions remaining high after Syrian military force reportedly targeted Jordanian border patrols by mistake early Friday, sparking a firefight between the two armies.
The government has downplayed any tensions and denied that any clashes took place, stressing that the reported incident was in fact Syrian forces opening fire on refugees, killing one child who was laid to rest Friday in the northern town of Ramtha.
Syrian activists claim that the regime’s border clampdown aims to prevent the flight of relatives of armed servicemen, whose safety they claim remains Damascus’ sole means of leverage to prevent large-scale defections.
Despite the rising death toll, Damascus’ fresh border crackdown has failed to slow the number of Syrians fleeing into Jordan, according to the UN, which is reporting the arrival of record numbers of refugees per day.
Intensified fighting in Daraa, Damascus and Aleppo over the last week has sparked a “dramatic” spike in the influx of Syrian refugees into Jordan, pushing the number of daily new arrivals from 500 to over 1,500, according to the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR).
“We are seeing the numbers get bigger each day as well as the number of injuries,” UNHCR Jordan Representative Andrew Harper told The Jordan Times.
In light of the influx of Syrians, Jordan opened its first Syrian refugee camp on Sunday, in a sign that the Kingdom is preparing for an extended humanitarian crisis.