Last updated: 23 October, 2012

Syrians burn Jordan camp tents in protest

A group of angry Syrians set fire to their tents in protest at “bad living conditions” at the Zaatari desert refugee camp in northern Jordan, a leading charity said on Tuesday.

“A number of Syrian refugees torched 20 tents last night, protesting bad living conditions in Zaatari and demanding the authorities replace tents with caravans,” said Zayed Hammad, head of the Ketab and Sunna Society, a charity that helps hundreds of thousands of Syrians in the kingdom.

“Police did not make any arrests and no one was hurt. I think Syrian regime supporters did this in an attempt to create riots inside the camp,” Hammad told AFP.

There are 5,000 tents and 350 caravans in Zaatari, which houses 37,000 refugees, he said.

But Anmar Hmud, a government spokesman for Syrian refugee affairs, said without elaborating that “one tent caught fire because of some children who were playing.”

Riots and clashes erupted at the camp earlier in October and have occurred several times in the past two months as Syrian refugees repeatedly complain of bad conditions, dust and lack of electricity.

Jordan says more than 200,000 Syrian refugees have crossed into its territory since the conflict in neighbouring Syria erupted in March last year.

UN figures show more than 85,000 refugees have registered in Jordan, with another 36,000 awaiting processing.