Syria refugees in Jordan fear they may never return: Oxfam
Syrian refugee walks to collect water after heavy rain - REUTERS/Muhammad Hamed

AMMAN, Jordan: Syrian refugees polled in Jordan fear they might not be able to return home despite desperately wanting go back to Syria, according to an Oxfam survey released on Wednesday.

As protests against President Bashar al-Assad that erupted in March 2011 have descended into a bloody civil war, 2.5 million Syrians have fled abroad and another 6.5 million have been internally displaced.

More than 65 percent of 1,015 refugees surveyed by Oxfam in three different regions in Jordan fear they will be unable to go back to their homeland, the aid organization said.

While the overwhelming majority of refugees want to return to Syria, only one third of those surveyed said they could clearly see themselves going home, according to Oxfam, and 78 percent still did not know when this would be.

“The survey shows that for many refugees hope of returning to Syria sometime soon is dwindling,” said Andy Baker, in charge of Oxfam’s response to the conflict in Syria.

“They are living in limbo, battling each day to survive, with little idea of what the future holds… Syrians deserve better than this,” an Oxfam statement quoted him as saying.

Jordan is home to more than 500,000 Syrian refugees, including around 100,000 in the Zaatari refugee camp.

“Renewed efforts must urgently be made by the international community to help stop the bloodshed,” Baker said.

In December, the UN appealed for around $6.5 billion (4.6 billion euros) for victims of Syria’s war, while a total of $2.3 billion was pledged at the Kuwait Donor Conference in January.

Oxfam said only 12 percent of the money pledged under the UN appeal has been delivered.

The Syrian conflict shows little sign of abating, and has killed 140,000 people to date, but Oxfam said it was vital to draw up contingency plans for the future.

“Plans for a long-term recovery need to be drawn up as even if the conflict were to end tomorrow, Syrians would need assistance for years to come,” Baker said.

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