Jordanian Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi said Monday his country has exceeded its capacity to host refugees from Syria and is backing their voluntary return home. Amman estimates that it has taken in close to 1.3 million refugees from its war-torn neighbor and says it has already spent more than $10 billion to host them. It has repeatedly complained that hosting Syrian refugees is a burden on the country's infrastructure and limited resources.
"The kingdom encourages the voluntary return of Syrian refugees to their homeland. It is inevitable," Safadi said during a meeting with U.N. refugee chief Filippo Grandi in Amman, according to his office, as reported by Agence France-Presse (AFP). In the statement, Safadi said Jordan had "exceeded its capacity" to host any more refugees from Syria and that the international community should shoulder its responsibilities.
Some 650,000 Syrian refugees have registered with the United Nations in Jordan since fleeing their country's conflict, which started with anti-government protests in 2011, although Amman gives a higher figure.
Refugees mainly took shelter in Turkey, Jordan and Lebanon with Turkey hosting the largest number of Syrian refugees. The statement came from a planned Syrian government offensive against rebels in Idlib near the Turkish border, which could set off a new wave of refugees heading for Turkey. Since 2011, Turk
ey has received a constant flow of displaced Syrians fleeing the conflict and their numbers have swelled from mere thousands to more than 3 million.
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