A fruit stand in Mafraq, Jordan. Photo: Nadia Bseiso/ILO on Flickr.com.

Syrian refugees’ stay in Jordan has become increasingly protracted, with the durable solutions of return in safety and dignity, local integration and resettlement remaining out of reach for most. A new working apper from the TRAFIG project investigates key dimensions of displacement in Jordan: connectivity and mobility, resettlement and asylum, integration and intergroup relations with hosts, and prospects for the future.

The new working paper Figurations of Displacement in and beyond Jordan. Empirical findings and reflections on protracted displacement and translocal connections of Syrian refugees, is based on empirical research in three field sites in Jordan, including the two largest urban and semi-urban areas in northern Jordan (Irbid, Mafraq) and Zaatari, Jordan’s largest refugee camp for Syrians. It was carried out by a research team from Jordan and Norway, working together in the context of the EU-funded project Transnational Figurations of Displacement (TRAFIG).

-In this paper, we argue that Syrians are de facto integrated in Jordanian host communities due to shared language, religion and socio-cultural ties as a pragmatic strategy for dealing with uncertainty and protracted displacement, says co-author Fawwaz Ayoub Momani, Associate Professor of Psychological Counseling at Yarmouk University, Jordan.

Besides this, the authors found that family- and kin networks have proven vital in facilitating and protecting their movements out of Syria and within Jordan, even as these networks are strained due to physical and geographic distance, reliant upon aid and financial support, and subject to socio-economic stress in the local labour market.

-We see that Syrians experience uncertain futures in which their mobility aspirations are unrealised, economic prospects are reliant upon and highly competitive with others, and connectivity with the host community is strained and can be improved, says co-author Sarah Tobin, Research Professor at CMI.

The new working paper is complemented by the practice note Out-of-camp but not out of mind: Supporting Syrian refugees in Jordan’s cities. This practice note emphasizes that a lot of attention has gone to the challenges faced by in-camp refugees, but that those based in cities and rural areas are vulnerable in ways that also need attention.