AMMAN - Thousands of Syrian refugees stranded on Jordan's northeastern border with Syria are running out of food after a militant suicide attack prompted the army to shut the area, international relief workers and refugees said on Monday.
Jordan, a staunch US ally, declared the area a closed military zone after a suicide bomber, believed to be an Islamic State militant, drove a vehicle last Tuesday from the Syrian side and rammed it into a military base close to Rukban camp, killing seven border guards.
Aid workers said convoys of food which normally go to the camp were being held up for a sixth day in Ruwaished, the closest town to Rukban camp, which is far from any inhabitable place. Only water trucks were being allowed through.
"Access continues to be denied and we are concerned because these trapped people have basic needs," said Hala Shamlawi, spokesperson for the International Committee for the Red Cross (ICRC).
Relief workers said the few supplies coming into the area were from smuggler rings inside Syria.
"We know the food rations will run out soon, probably in a few days' time ... This is a matter of concern," said Dina El Kassaby, regional spokesperson of World Food Program (WFP).
The authorities gave no explanation for blocking aid that affects between 60,000 to 70,000 refugees, mostly women and children, who have been stranded for months in a no-man's land at the only crossing where Jordan now receives refugees.