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Middle East

Syrian refugees in Jordan want freedom to leave camps

media A Syrian girl carries her brother at the Al Zaatri refugee camp in the Jordanian city of Mafraq, 31 July, 2012 Reuters/Muhammad Hamed

An estimated 2,000 Syrian refugees are arriving in Jordan every day. Many find shelter in refugee camps, but some are now complaining about not being able to leave the camps.

With the opening of the Zaatari tent camp close to the border with Syria last Sunday, all refugees living in other camps will now be transferred there.

But because of the UNHCR’s policy of encampment, no refugees will be permitted to leave, even for a short period, once they have entered Zaatari.

On Tuesday, hundreds of refugees in the town of Ramtha protested against being moved to the tent camp because of its restrictions.

Abid Halil, from Homs, is currently living in the Mahab refugee camp. Speaking through an interpreter, he told RFI about the conditions inside the camp:

“They are sleeping on the ground, there are no rooms. They food is…acceptable. But the water is…very hot. Sometimes they decide to go and buy some cold water. He’s not allowed to leave the camp. He needs a Jordanian man to guarantee him."

The guarantee system has now been stopped because of the transfer of refugees as well as growing social concerns. The Jordanian authorities have also stated a desire to isolate the camps from densely populated areas.

“He doesn’t know how long he will stay, but the Jordanian government is stopping now the guarantee or the permission to leave this camp and to go and see his wife. He’s asking to leave this camp because he’s looking for a job, to get money to help his family who need medical treatment.”

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