Middle East

Syrian refugees, Jordanians clash in border town

Syrian refugees walk out the container city in Kilis at the border with Syria after clashing with police during a demonstrating over their living conditions on July 22, 2012. AFP PHOTO/ADEM ALTAN

AMMAN: Anti-riot police on Monday fired tear gas to break up clashes between Syrian refugees and Jordanians in the border town of Ramtha, as more people fled to the kingdom, witnesses said.

"The two sides clashed in the early hours of Monday after some young Jordanians tried to take pictures of Syrian refugee women," said Fathi Bashabsheh, one of the owners of Ramtha's Bashabsheh housing complex, a military-guarded compound that houses more than 1,000 Syrian refugees.

"Hundreds of people were involved in the clashes, and police used tear gas to disperse them."

The Jordanian border town of Ramtha is home to a large number of Syrian refugees.

Zayed Hammad, head of the Ketab and Sunna Society, a prominent charity, said "around 900 refugees escaped following the clashes."

"They took advantage of what happened and escaped. They were no allowed to leave the complex without permission," said Hammad, whose charity has been taking care of more than 50,000 Syrian refugees in Jordan.

Jordan is hosting more than 140,000 Syrians and the kingdom is building more camps to house the refugee influx.

"More than 1,600 Syrian fled to Jordan at dawn," Hammad told AFP, a day after 2,000 sought refuge in Jordan.

King Abdullah II on Sunday headed a cabinet meeting and vowed to "keep the door open to our Syrian brothers, while at the same time preserving the country's national interests," a palace statement said.






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