Syria refugee influx a daunting challenge for Jordan

A Syrian family walks amid tents at the Zaatari refugee camp, near the Syrian border with Jordan in Mafraq, March 7, 2013. Getty

(CBS News) ZAATARI REFUGEE CAMP, Jordan -- As the Obama administration focuses on diplomacy in Russia, another crisis spawned by Syria's civil war is mounting for the nation's neighbors: the relentless influx of those trying to escape the fighting.

More than 70,000 people have been killed in the war, which is now entering its third year. In the face of relentless bombardment from the regime's planes and tanks, CBS News correspondent Clarissa Ward reports that some 3 million Syrians have been forced to flee their homes.

Of the displaced, more than 500,000 have fled to the sanctuary of neighboring Jordan. In April alone, 53,000 refugees poured into this small country.

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Many of them come to the already-swollen Zaatari refugee camp -- now the second largest refugee camp in the world -- and with 175,000 residents and counting, it is also now the fifth largest city in Jordan. The U.S. estimates that at the current rate, there will be 1.2 million Syrians living in this small country of just 6 million by the end of the year.

Some Jordanian officials are concerned that the daunting influx of refugees could destabilize Jordan. The country's security forces are preparing for the chaos that will almost certainly ensue if the Assad regime falls.

The U.S. is one of Jordan's closest allies. There are currently about 200 U.S. military personnel in the kingdom working with Jordanian soldiers, training them on how to go into Syria to secure chemical weapons sites, should the regime fall.

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