March 2, 2015 / 11:09 AM / 3 years ago

Four Syrian refugees killed in fire at camp in Jordan

AMMAN (Reuters) - Four Syrian refugees died on Monday when their mobile home caught fire in Jordan’s Zaatari camp near the Syrian border, the United Nations refugee agency and a witness said.

The four refugees, all members of one family, died when flames engulfed one of thousands of mobile homes in the sprawling Zaatari camp, which houses at least 70,000 Syrian refugees, a witness said.

UNHCR’s head in Jordan, Andrew Harper, said it was still too early to find out what happened in the dawn incident, but a gas cylinder widely used for heating was found at the scene.

Nearly four million people have fled Syria since 2011, when anti-government protests turned into a violent civil war. Jordan says it is sheltering around 1.3 million refugees. Some 600,000 of them are registered with the U.N.

Most of the registered refugees live in urban areas across the kingdom. The rest are staying in two U.N.-sponsored camps in northern Jordan.

The kingdom closed its unofficial border crossings a year ago and tightened restrictions on the entry of Syrians into the country. The authorities say coping with the economic and social costs of the refugees is straining its financial resources.

Reporting by Suleiman Al-Khalidi; Editing by Larry King

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