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Fragile Sanctuary

Jordan Buckles Under the Stress of Hosting Syrian Refugees

A Jordanian soldier carries a Syrian refugee child as they walk with Syrian refugees on December 5, 2013. Courtesy Reuters

Syria began its descent into civil war this month three years ago and there remains very little the United States can do to end the fighting. But the fact that Washington cannot stop the conflict does not absolve it of responsibility for responding to its effects -- above all, to the worsening refugee crisis that now threatens to destabilize Syria’s neighbors and the region as a whole.

Containing the Syrian spillover is more important than ever in Jordan, one of Washington’s most consistent allies in the Middle East and an important partner in U.S. policy toward Iraq, Israel, and the Palestinian Authority. Jordan is now home to approximately 600,000 Syrian refugees -- the equivalent of almost ten percent of Jordan’s population. By the end of the year, the refugee population is expected to rise to 800,000.

The plight of these Syrians is already a serious humanitarian concern, as

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