The doors to Syrian refugees are starting to close, with more than 1.7 million already having flooded through the borders to safety.
But tens of thousands more were left stranded according to the New York-based Human Rights Watch organization, which reported Monday that neighboring Turkey, Jordan and Iraq have essentially blocked most refugees from entering their countries.
Only those in need of emergency humanitarian assistance are now being allowed to cross, according to the organization.
HRW senior refugee researcher Gerry Simpson said all three nations “risk turning Syria into an open air prison for tens of thousands of Syrians unable to escape the carnage in their country.
Only Lebanon's borders have remained open, Simpson reported.
“Neither the pressure those countries are under due to rising refugee numbers, nor giving aid inside Syria, can justify violating people’s basic right to seek asylum from persecution and other abuse,” he said.
“Syria’s neighbors should stop pushing desperate people back to places where their lives are in danger, Simpson added. He appealed to the international community to help shoulder the financial and logistical burden of providing for the refugees in Syria’s neighboring countries.
Nearly 100,000 Syrians have been killed in the civil war that has raged across the country since March 2011, and more than two million citizens have been displaced inside the country.