Jordan blocks Syrian border crossing as violence escalates


Syrian refugees cross the border from Syria into Jordan, near Mafraq, on Feb. 18, 2013.


Khalil Mazraawi

Jordan announced Monday that a northern crossing point into Syria, the Jaber border post, had been closed due to clashes in the area.

"The border post is effectively closed because there have been clashes since yesterday and they are continuing," Jordan's information minister, Samih al-Maaytah, told Reuters.

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Jordan's Amman News said the Jaber post had only been closed in one direction, blocking Jordanians from entering war-ravaged Syria but still allowing Syrians to flee toward Jordan. 

Amman News cited an unnamed Jordanian authority in their report, but al-Maaytah told ANSAmed, a publication of the the European Commission: ''We will protect our border but at the same time will not close our doors before refugees."

His comments on the closure of the Jaber/Naseeb crossing, reportedly the largest border area shared between the two nations, came as Jordanian authorities issued an alert on violence in the area, said ANSAmed.

The border unrest is part of ongoing violence between Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's regime and rebels forces seeking his overthrow, a conflict that has killed an estimated 70,000 people over three years.

Jordan says 500,000 Syrians have fled to Jordan since the fighting began.

International efforts to end the crisis in Syria have not been successful.