BEIRUT

Middle East

Syrian refugees in Jordan riot over tents

Syrian refugees walk along tents at the Al Zaatari Syrian refugee camp in the Jordanian city of Mafraq, near the border with Syria January 30, 2013. REUTERS/Majed Jaber

AMMAN: Jordanian riot police fired tear gas on Sunday to disperse Syrian refugees at a northern desert camp as they fought over tents being distributed by a Norwegian charity, an official said.

"A Norwegian charity was giving away tents to Syrian refugees at the Zaatari camp. They rioted and clashed with each other, trying to attack security officers," Anmar Hmud, a government spokesman for refugee affairs, told AFP.

"The riot police intervened, firing tear gas to disperse them. One Syrian man was slightly hurt," Hmud said without giving further details.

Since it opened in July, the Zaatari camp, home to more than 90,000 Syrian refugees, has seen several protests against poor living conditions, including a lack of electricity.

Jordan, which is setting up a second refugee camp northeast of Amman, says it is currently hosts some 340,000 Syrians, 200,000 of whom are UN-registered.

The United Nations has predicted the number of Syrian refugees in neighbouring countries will double to 1.1 million by June if Syria's 22-month conflict -- which it says has killed more than 60,000 people -- does not end.

 

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