Jordan to expel Syrian refugee camp rioters: PM

AFP , Wednesday 29 Aug 2012

Jordanian prime minister vows to expel Syrian refugees believed to have participated in Tuesday protest in which 20 Jordanian policemen were injured

Prime Minister Fayez Tarawneh said on Wednesday Jordan would send home Syrian refugees who attacked police during clashes over living conditions in a desert border camp.

Stone-throwing refugees wounded more than 20 police on Tuesday in a protest over conditions at the Zaatari camp in northern Jordan that has seen a massive influx of people in recent days, officials said.

"We will be firm in the face of those who break the law and will send home people arrested for attacking police officers," Tarawneh told state television after visiting injured police in hospital in the capital.

He did not specify how many people would be expelled but said Jordan would do everything possible to improve conditions at Zaatari, 85 kilometres (53 miles) north of Amman in a desert area on the border with Syria.

Tuesday's trouble was the second time in less than a week security forces had to intervene in Zaatari. Last Thursday, police dispersed a group of refugees who clashed with warders who had prevented them from leaving the camp confines.

The latest disturbances came as the office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees reported that the number of Syrians fleeing to the camp had doubled in recent days.

"The pace of arrivals from the Syrian border to the Zaatari camp in north Jordan has doubled in the past week," said UNHCR spokeswoman Melissa Fleming, adding more than 22,000 Syrians have taken shelter in the camp since it opened on July 30.

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