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Over 250,000 Syrian refugees a burden for Jordan

Syrian refugees and local residents carry the bodies of Syrian refugees, Emara al-Zoabi, 7 months old, Moath al-Rawashdeh, 30, and Ahmed al-Natoor, 62, during a funeral service in Ramtha, near the Syrian border December 2, 2012. (REUTERS/Muhammad Hamed)

AMMAN: Prime Minister Abdullah Ensur said Monday Jordan was hosting more than 250,000 Syrian refugees, describing that as an “enormous burden” on the kingdom that neighbors war-ravaged Syria.

“The events in Syria are a huge burden for the kingdom, which hosts more than 250,000 refugees,” Nsur told the Cabinet, according to the official news agency Petra.

Hundreds of Syrians cross the border daily into Jordan, fleeing the fighting between the forces of President Bashar Assad and the opposition rebels in the country.

Violence in Syria has killed more than 41,000 people since the start of an uprising against Assad’s regime in March 2011, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a Britain-based watchdog.

The Zaatari camp, near the Syrian border, itself hosts some 45,000 Syrian refugees, a Jordanian official said.

Some 243 Syrians entered Jordan Sunday, said Anmar al-Hammoud, head of the Syrian refugee cell in the Jordanian government, taking to 45,000 the number of refugees in Zaatari, which is located in the province of Mafraq, 85 kilometers north of Amman.

The camp housed 42,000 when it opened in July.

To relieve the pressure on Zaatari, a new camp will be ready before the end of the year in Jordan to receive more Syrian refugees, authorities said.

The U.N. estimates that there are currently 460,000 refugees in neighboring countries and North Africa, as well as another 20,000 in Europe.

 
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Daily Star on December 04, 2012, on page 8.

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