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January 9, 2013
Winter storm brings more misery to Syrian refugees

ZAATARI, Jordan (AP) -- A winter storm is magnifying the misery for tens of thousands of Syrians fleeing the country's civil war, turning a refugee camp into a muddy swamp where howling winds tore down tents and exposed the displaced residents to freezing temperatures.

Some frustrated refugees at a camp in Zaatari, where about 50,000 are sheltered, attacked aid workers with sticks and stones after the tents collapsed in 35 mph (60 kph) winds, said Ghazi Sarhan, spokesman for the Jordanian charity that helps run the camp. Police said seven Jordanian workers were injured.

After three days of rain, muddy water engulfed tents housing refugees including pregnant women and infants. Those who didn't move out used buckets to bail out the water; others built walls of mud to try to stay dry.

Conditions in the Zaatari camp were "worse than living in Syria," said Fadi Suleiman, a 30-year-old refugee.

Most of Zaatari's residents are children under age 18 and women. They are some of the more than 280,000 Syrians who fled to Jordan since the uprising against President Bashar Assad broke out in March 2011. As the fighting has increased in recent weeks, the number of displaced has risen.

(20 images)




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A Syrian refugee stands on top of a water tank at Zaatari refugee camp, near the Syrian border in Mafraq, Jordan, Wednesday, Jan. 9, 2013. The unusual weather was a particularly harsh blow for the vulnerable Syrian refugees, especially about 50,000 sheltering in the Zaatari tent camp in Jordan's northern desert. Torrential rains over the past four days have flooded 200 tents and forced women and infants to evacuate in temperatures below freezing at night, whipping wind and lashing rain. AP / Mohammad Hannon
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Syrian refugees carry their belongings at Zaatari refugee camp, near the Syrian border in Mafraq, Jordan, Wednesday, Jan. 9, 2013. AP / Mohammad Hannon
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Syrian refugees make their way through flooded water at Zaatari refugee camp, near the Syrian border in Mafraq, Jordan, Wednesday, Jan. 9, 2013. AP / Mohammad Hannon
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A Syrian refugee carries his mattress at Zaatari Syrian refugee camp, near the Syrian border in Mafraq, Jordan, Wednesday, Jan. 9, 2013. AP / Mohammad Hannon
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Syrian refugees leaves carry their belongings at Zaatari refugee camp, near the Syrian border in Mafraq, Jordan, Wednesday, Jan. 9, 2013. AP / Mohammad Hannon
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A Syrian refugee makes his way through mud and water, at Zaatari refugee camp, near the Syrian border in Mafraq, Jordan, Wednesday, Jan. 9, 2013. AP / Mohammad Hannon
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A Syrian refugee boy makes his way through water and mud, next to a UNICEF school at Zaatari Syrian refugee camp, near the Syrian border in Mafraq, Jordan, Tuesday, Jan. 8, 2013. AP / Mohammad Hannon
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Syrian refugees stand inside their tent after a flooded hit Zaatari Syrian refugee camp, near the Syrian border in Mafraq, Jordan, Tuesday, Jan. 8, 2013. AP / Mohammad Hannon
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Omm Essam, 30, carries her newborn baby, at a tent after a flood at Zaatari Syrian refugee camp, near the Syrian border in Mafraq, Jordan, Tuesday, Jan. 8, 2013. AP / Mohammad Hannon
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Syrian refugee girls remove water and mud from their tent after a flood at Zaatari Syrian refugee camp, near the Syrian border in Mafraq, Jordan, Tuesday, Jan. 8, 2013. Syrian refugees in a Jordanian camp attacked aid workers with sticks and stones on Tuesday, frustrated after cold, howling winds swept away their tents and torrential rains flooded muddy streets overnight. Police said seven aid workers were injured. AP / Mohammad Hannon
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Syrian refugee family warm themselves inside their tent , at Zaatari Syrian refugee camp, near the Syrian border in Mafraq, Jordan, Tuesday, Jan. 8, 2013. AP / Mohammad Hannon
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Syrian refugee children watch television at a temporary shelter, after their tents flooded from the rain, at a refugee camp, in the eastern Lebanese Town of Al-Faour near the border with Syria, Lebanon Tuesday Jan. 8, 2013. AP / Hussein Malla
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A Syrian refugee removes water and mud around his tent, at Zaatari Syrian refugee camp, near the Syrian border in Mafraq, Jordan, Tuesday, Jan. 8, 2013. AP / Mohammad Hannon
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A Wounded Syrian refugee man makes his way on water and mud, at Zaatari Syrian refugee camp, near the Syrian border in Mafraq, Jordan, Tuesday, Jan. 8, 2013. AP / Mohammad Hannon
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Syrian refugees make their way on water and mud, at Zaatari Syrian refugee camp, near the Syrian border in Mafraq, Jordan, Tuesday, Jan. 8, 2013. AP / Mohammad Hannon
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Syrian refugees get their belongings out of their tent at Zaatari Syrian refugee camp, near the Syrian border in Mafraq, Jordan, Tuesday, Jan. 8, 2013. AP / Mohammad Hannon
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A Syrian refugee boy makes his way through flooded water at a temporary refugee camp, in the eastern Lebanese Town of Al-Faour near the border with Syria, Lebanon, Tuesday, Jan. 8, 2013. AP / Hussein Malla
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Syrian refugees stand under electricity cables outside their tents, at a temporary refugee camp, in the eastern Lebanese Town of Al-Faour near the border with Syria, Lebanon Tuesday Jan. 8, 2013. AP / Hussein Malla
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Syrian refugees make their way in flooded water at a temporary refugee camp, in the eastern Lebanese Town of Al-Faour near the border with Syria, Lebanon Tuesday Jan. 8, 2013. Two Syrian refugee encampments in Lebanon's eastern Bekaa valley were completely immersed in water Tuesday after the Litani river flooded and the water came pouring into their tents. The flood forced dozens of Syrian refugees to leave in search for alternative shelter along with their water-soaked and muddied belongings. AP / Hussein Malla
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A Syrian refugee boy runs to his family tent at Zaatari Syrian refugee camp, near the Syrian border in Mafraq, Jordan, Tuesday, Jan. 8, 2013. AP / Mohammad Hannon

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