UN AID chiefs have urged Jordan to let them deliver “life-saving” food to 50,000 displaced Syrians stranded on the countries’ sealed border.
There has been a sharp drop in food supplies to the remote Rukban desert camp as a result of increased Syrian army operations in the south.
Black market prices for food have soared and increasing numbers of young children are malnourished.
UN official Mark Lowcock has told the security council that the best bet was routing aid through Syria itself, a change of tack after months of fruitless talks with Jordan over allowing aid across the border.
Jordan sealed its border with Syria in June 2016, after a cross-border car bomb by Isis extremists killed seven Jordanian border guards. It says its security trumps humanitarian concerns and claimed that the attack underscored warnings there were Isis sympathisers in the camp.
Jordan already hosts many refugees within its borders. More than five million Syrians have fled their country since the war started in 2011 and 660,000 of them are registered as refugees in Jordan.
Commercial food shipments from other areas of Syria to Rukban dropped by about 70 per cent since the Syrian government’s advances, said Firas Abdel Aziz, a Jordan-based activist for Jusoor al-Amal, a charity that operates in the camp.
The price of bread has doubled, sugar is up six-fold and the cost of rice has tripled, he said.
Mr Lowcock said that “as limited commercial supplies are reaching Rukban, access to food is precarious and the overall situation remains dire.” The situation will become more acute as winter approaches, he added.