BEIRUT

Middle East

One killed in clashes at Jordan's Zaatari refugee camp

  • Syrian refugees try to board a truck that will transport them back to their homeland, at the Zaatari refugee camp in the Jordanian city of Mafraq, near the border with Syria, April 1, 2014. REUTERS/Muhammad Hamed

AMMAN: At least one Syrian refugee was killed in Jordan's sprawling Zaatari camp when hundreds of refugees clashed with security forces, residents said Saturday.

They said scores of refugees in the sprawling camp close to the Syrian border were injured as baton-wielding anti-riot police used tear gas to disperse stone-throwing refugees who set fire to official offices and caravans.

Jordanian police blamed agitators who were apprehended after trying to flee the refugee camp of nearly 70,000 residents. Authorities said at least 22 anti-riot police were hospitalised for treatment but denied any deaths occurred.

Residents say the rioting, the first such serious disturbance this year, was provoked when a Jordanian security officer ran over with his car and seriously injured a 4-year old Syrian child, prompting outrage by residents and relatives protesting ill treatment.

The camp witnessed almost daily protests over living conditions when it was first set up nearly two years ago but protests have since dwindled as U.N. agencies stepped up improvements in its infrastructure and services.

The United Nations says 2.5 million Syria refugees have registered in total, more than 10 percent of Syria's population. Jordan hosts at least 600,000 refugees with the rest mainly in Lebanon and Turkey.

 
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