Russia and China have rejected UN Security Council plans to inspect Syrian refugee camps in Jordan, citing it as a potential attempt to prepare for “foreign intervention” in Syria, where government forces are trying to crush a two-year-old uprising.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said that Moscow and Beijing opposed the move on Friday, a day after 15 Security Council member nations discussed the possibility of sending a delegation to visit the camps.
The UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) “is competent for [organising] visits of refugee camps that have been set by the UN, the Security Council has no competence for that,” Lavrov said in Slovenia.
He added: “If there was an attempt to use the Syrian refugee situation to push forward some ideas about no-fly zones, then we and China might have seen in it an attempt to prepare a foreign intervention.”
Jordan this week warned that the growing exodus of Syrian refugees who had flooded over its border to escape civil war -already more than 500,000 – was placing a “crushing weight” on the country.
The UNHCR has said the number of refugees in Jordan could reach 1.2 million by the end of the year – equivalent to one fifth of the Jordanian population.
There are also hundreds of thousands of Syrian refugees in other neighbouring countries including Lebanon, Turkey and Iraq.
Moscow and Beijing, two close allies of Damascus, have vetoed a series of UN resolutions that threatened sanctions against the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad over alleged atrocities during the conflict.