What are you searching for?
GIGA Focus Nahost

Syrian Refugees in Jordan: Between Protection and Marginalisation

Number: 3 | 08/2016 | ISSN: 1862-3611


Syrians currently comprise the largest group of refugees worldwide, with the number of people who have fled the country totalling nearly five million. Although hundreds of thousands of Syrian refugees landed in Europe in 2015, the vast majority have remained in the immediate vicinity of their home country in the Middle East. In the main receiving countries, they are in urgent need of conflict-sensitive assistance.

  • Jordan has taken in more Syrian refugees, in relation to the number of its inhabitants, than has Turkey, but far fewer than Lebanon. From a legal point of view, these refugees in Jordan live in an uncertain limbo between temporary protection and structural marginalisation.

  • Within Jordan, the majority of Syrians live in the capital of Amman and in the border towns and communities of the north, while a significantly smaller portion lives in the official refugee camps. In addition, some tens of thousands of refugees are subsisting in makeshift refugee camps without any aid or infrastructure. They are located in the no man’s land between the Jordanian, Syrian, and Iraqi borders.

  • In northern Jordanian cities such as Mafraq, property owners and local entrepreneurs are profiting from the presence of refugees and the influx of international aid money. However, the Syrians and many Jordanians are suffering from the subsequent price increases and the tight labour and housing markets.

  • This situation harbours potential for conflict, since the competitive climate on the ground could deepen prejudices between Jordanians and Syrians. However, apart from a few exceptions, the existing tensions have not escalated into violence so far.

Policy Implications

The ongoing war in Syria is making the return of the refugees in the foreseeable future unlikely. Since European countries, including Germany, are not willing to grant protection to a larger number of Syrian refugees, the host countries in the region are in dire need of a substantial increase in international aid. In this context, the heterogeneous reality of Syrians living in Jordan – be it in cities, villages, or camps – should be given more consideration.



Imprint

The GIGA Focus is an Open Access publication and can be read on the Internet and downloaded free of charge at www.giga-hamburg.de/en/giga-focus. According to the conditions of the Creative-Commons license Attribution-No Derivative Works 3.0 this publication may be freely duplicated, circulated and made accessible to the public. The particular conditions include the correct indication of the initial publication as GIGA Focus and no changes in or abbreviation of texts.

The German Institute for Global and Area Studies (GIGA) – Leibniz-Institut für Globale und Regionale Studien in Hamburg publishes the Focus series on Africa, Asia, Latin America, the Middle East and global issues. The GIGA Focus is edited and published by the GIGA. The views and opinions expressed are solely those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect those of the institute. Authors alone are responsible for the content of their articles. GIGA and the authors cannot be held liable for any errors and omissions, or for any consequences arising from the use of the information provided.

GIGA Focus

In the various editions of the GIGA Focus, the GIGA publishes its research findings and concise analyses of current events. Four editions cover politics, economics, and society in Africa, Asia, Latin America, and the Middle East, respectively. A transregional edition examines global trends.

Picture of blue lock

Open Access

The concept of "open access" has empowered the GIGA to virtually eliminate the financial, technical, and legal barriers normally faced by many of those seeking to access the institute’s research findings. This publication strategy ensures that people all around the world have equal opportunities to keep up with scholarly advances.

GIGA Online Catalogue

Users can search the IZ’s collections online. These include, for one, the World Affairs Online (WAO) database, which offers more than one million titles on international relations and area studies – 100,000 of which come with links to full texts online. The WAO is one of the largest social science literature databases in Europe. The catalogue is available to users in German and English.