Syrian crisis: Impact on Jordan

Briefing 07-02-2017

The impact of the Syrian crisis on Jordan is immense. Jordan hosts an estimated 1.3 million Syrians, of which roughly half are refugees registered by the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR). An estimated two out of three refugees live below the poverty line. The strain of the ongoing refugee crisis on host-communities has led to public discontent, directed at the Jordanian government. Syrians live mainly among Jordan's most disadvantaged communities. The sudden influx of large numbers of people exacerbates challenges Jordan has faced for many years – increased competition for jobs, overburdened infrastructure and strained social services, such as healthcare and education. Marginalised Jordanians have begun to mobilise around their grievances as public frustration grows. To confront these issues, Jordan will continue to depend on external assistance. The country has accepted that the bulk of the refugees will remain until the situation in Syria allows for their return, which may be many years from now. In this context, creating job opportunities for Syrian refugees without discriminating against Jordanians will be a key policy challenge. Jordan's stability is a high priority for the EU. The country is an important partner in the European Neighbourhood Policy, as well as in the fight against ISIL/Da'esh. It is one of only two Arab countries to have signed a peace treaty with Israel and is key to any future agreement between Israel and Palestine. Jordan remains a haven of stability in a turbulent region; any change to this situation, particularly if it were to threaten the monarchy, would further destabilise a region in the midst of an existential crisis, potentially also causing new refugee movements to Europe.