Makeshift camps in Jordan house Syrian refugees

24 Photos

Dozens of small, makeshift tent settlements have sprung up across Jordan, home to thousands of Syrian refugees who don’t want to live in large, government-supervised refugee camps but can’t afford to live in towns and cities.

Aid officials say those in the makeshift camps are among the most vulnerable of close to 625,000 Syrians who fled to Jordan and have registered with the U.N. refugee agency.

Overall, nearly 3.8 million Syrians have fled their country and are now registered as refugees, according to the agency. Most face increasingly desperate circumstances as the conflict back home enters its fifth year this week.

In Jordan, most refugees settle in urban areas. Just over 100,000 live in the three main authorized refugee camps in northern Jordan.

The U.N. refugee agency says about 16,000 refugees live in tents outside the three main camps.

Some refugees say they pitched tents to be close to jobs on farms, especially during harvest season. Others say they can’t afford rent or that they don’t want to live in the authorized camps because of restrictions there.

Refugee Montaha Ali lives in a makeshift camp in Al-Aghwar, close to Jordan’s border with Israel.

“My father and one of my brothers are refugees in Lebanon’s camps, my other three brothers are refugees in Turkey and I am, with my husband, a refugee in Jordan,” she says. “The war ripped everything from us. All I wish is to be reunited with my family back in our village.”

In another camp, refugee Fatima Jassim says she struggles to feed her newborn.

“I want to see my 3-day-old daughter Marwa grow up under a roof, safe and healthy,” Jassim says. “I want to give her what I could not give her elder sisters, a good childhood.”

Here are images by Associated Press photographer Muhammed Muheisen of several tent camps of Syrian refugees in Jordan. — By Muhammed Muheisen, Associated Press