Honoring the fallen: Anmar Hmoud, Jordan’s spokesman for Syrian refugee affairs, dies at the border

Published July 1st, 2013 - 11:43 GMT
Anmar Hmoud took pride in his horsemanship.
Anmar Hmoud took pride in his horsemanship.

The political and sporting community of Jordan is in mourning after the death of a well-respected countryman and diplomat who served the Kingdom until his final hour.

In the Badia/Rweished region, Anmar Hmoud, government spokesperson for Syrian refugee affairs was involved in a tragic car accident with three other passengers, two foreigners and a local driver. The incident occurred near the town of Mafraq, in the north of Jordan. Hmoud and the other passengers were airlifted to King Hussein Medical Center in Amman but he was dead on arrival, according to Jordanian media reports.

The car companions remain in critical condition but so far survive him. UNHCR’s representative to Jordan, Andrew Harper from Australia, was one of the injured passengers, according to Al Ghad newspaper.

In death, as in life, Hmoud was serving his country.

A close friend of Hmoud remembers him as patriotic and generous, a keen sportsman whose passions included polo, horsemanship and hunting.

“The Syrian crisis consumed him,” his friend added, but Hmoud still managed to be an active participant in Jordanian society and triumphed the causes of the environment and sport in the desert climate. Hmoud was instrumental in advancing polo, a sport he loved dearly, in the Kingdom.

Hmoud leaves behind a wife and three children, two girls and a boy, as well as a legion of admirers touched by his dedicated service to the Hashemite Kingdom.

Foreign service

Born in 1946 in Al Azariyeh, Salt, a central Jordanian governorate, Hmoud comes from tribal stock.

Before taking his final position as spokesperson for Refugee Affairs, he had a long history serving Jordan both domestically and overseas.

After climbing the ranks of the police force as Major General in the 1990s, he ultimately devoted his life to promoting Jordanian interests abroad, acting as ambassador in China, Lebanon, Iraq and Turkey.

In his position as Jordan’s spokesperson for Syrian refugee affairs, Hmoud was known for keeping a level head as he cooperated with officials and journalists amid the continued influx of refugees into Jordan, reaching 560,000 under his watch.

Famous in the Jordanian press for his refrain of “Jordan’s borders are open to Syrian refugees,” Hmoud made it his calling in the last year of his life to alleviate the suffering of the displaced Syrian community in Jordan.

Hmoud retired from the foreign service and was appointed spokesperson for Syrian Refugee Affairs in Jordan in August 2012 by former Prime Minister Fayez Tarawneh. His untimely death left him just short of rounding a year in this key office.

Jordan’s role

In his pivotal regional role of spokesperson for Syrian refugee affairs, Hmoud had his work cut out for him. Confronted with escalating violence near the Jordanian-Syrian border and an increased Hezbollah presence in the south of the war-torn country, Hmoud embraced the challenge of justifying the acceptance of hundreds of Syrians travelling into Jordan every day.

Those who know him lament that his premature passing prevents him from seeing a satisfactory conclusion to the Syrian crisis.

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