Jordan riot police disperse Syrian refugees

Jordanian riot police used tear gas to disperse Syrian refugees at a camp in the north of the country who set fire to tents and destroyed property in protest at their living conditions, a charity said Tuesday. “Some 500 refugees demonstrated against their living conditions in the Zaatari camp,” said Zayed Hammad, president of the charitable Muslim association Kitab wal Sunna, which provides aid for tens of thousands of refugees.

The protesters during the night set fire to tents and to a field hospital, as well as destroying ambulances, according to Hammad. “The police intervened to restore order,” police spokesman Mohamed al-Khatib said, adding that the demonstrators were protesting against living conditions in the wake of a sandstorm which blew away several hundred tents. Khatib accused individuals he said belonged to the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad of “infiltrating” the camp in order to “spark trouble by inciting refugees to protest and commit violent acts.”

Clashes in the camp also over living conditions wounded 20 Jordanian police on 28 August. Prime Minister Fayez Tarawneh said Jordan would expel those who had attacked policemen and send them back to Syria. Foreign Minister Nasser Judeh said earlier this month that over 200,000 Syrian refugees have crossed the borders into Jordan since the uprising against the rule of President Bashar al-Assad erupted 18 months ago. UN figures show that over 85,000 refugees are registered in Jordan, with around a further 36,000 awaiting processing. More than 30,000 refugees are staying in the UN-run Zaatari camp, according to official figures.

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