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Police clash with Syrian refugees in Jordan's Zaatari camp

Clashes between Syrian refugees and security forces in Jordan's Zaatari refugee camp have left more than two dozen people injured. Jordanian officials say the unrest was sparked by refugees attempting to leave the camp.

Baton-wielding Jordanian anti-riot police used tear gas to disperse stone-throwing Syrian refugees who lit several tents and caravans on fire Sunday.

"Dozens of Syrian refugees at the Zaatari refugee camp rioted after police detained a group of refugees after leaving the camp illegally," a statement by Jordan's Public Security Directorate said.

"Twenty-two policemen were injured in the clashes. The rioters burned six tents and two caravans and tried to attack police stations," the statement said, adding that three refugees were also injured.

Police also denied claims that a refugee was killed.

Residents, however, say the rioting was provoked when a Jordanian security officer injuured a 4-year-old Syrian child by running the child over with his car.

Since opening two years ago, Zaatari has seen several protests, mainly over poor living conditions. United Nations agencies responded with improvements in infrastructure and the protests have dwindled.

Sunday's riot was the first such serious disturbance this year in the camp, which houses more than 70,000 residents.

The UN says a total of 2.5 million Syrians have registered as refugees, with Jordan hosting at least 600,000. The rest are mainly in Lebanon and Turkey.

hc/se (Reuters, AFP)

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