Syrian refugees plead with U.S. secretary of state in Jordan

Story highlights

  • Refugees vent their anger to John Kerry over a lack of international action
  • They call for a no-fly zone, want to end a flow of troops and arms from other countries
  • "As you know, we've been fighting two wars for 12 years," Kerry responds
  • The Za'atri camp in Jordan is home to roughly 120,000 refugees fleeing the civil war

A group of uprooted Syrians grew angry when they sat down with John Kerry on Thursday.

The world has forsaken their homeland, the six refugees told the U.S. secretary of state as he visited them at the U.N. refugee camp in Za'atri, Jordan.

Kerry told them that he was sorry for their suffering and that he was there to listen to them. He asked them to speak their minds.

They did.

Please set up a no-fly zone to stop Bashar al-Assad's bombardments, the five women and one man pleaded repeatedly.

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"Where is the international community? What are you waiting for?" asked a woman who did not give her name. At least impose an embargo.

"I wish it was very simple," Kerry told them. "As you know, we've been fighting two wars for 12 years."

He let them know that the United States is fatigued from Iraq and Afghanistan.

They begged him to set up buffer zones and to stop the influx of weapons from Iran to aid al-Assad. Stop Hezbollah's troops from Lebanon from coming to fight side by side with his troops against the rebels, a woman pleaded.

Kerry told her he was "not happy" either with what Iran and Hezbollah were doing.

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The Za'atri camp is home to roughly 120,000 refugees fleeing the civil war in Syria. Most of them are women and children.

The U.S. has donated more than $800 million in humanitarian aid to the U.N. for Syria. More than one-fifth is for refugees in Jordan.

The U.N. estimates that more than 93,000 people have died in Syria's civil war.

After his visit, Kerry climbed into a helicopter and flew back to Amman, Jordan's capital.

Before he left, one of the Syrian women told him that the refugees might not be there when he came back. If no help comes from the outside, she said, they will return to Syria to fight al-Assad with knives.

Meanwhile, Kurdish militants have taken control of a village in the northeastern part of Syria, close to the border with Turkey, after violent clashes with fighters from the al Qaeda-affiliated group Jabhat al-Nusra, also known as the al-Nusra Front, who were based in the village, the London-based opposition group Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said Thursday.

There are reports of casualties on both sides in the village in Qasrouk as the fighting moved to the nearby villages of Tal A'lo and Karhouk, the group said.