AMMAN — Police on Monday morning used teargas to disperse scores of Ramtha residents who had converged at a compound housing Syrian refugees after the residents and refugees threw stones at each other, an eyewitness said.
The eyewitness, who declined to be named, said that over 15 Syrian refugees had been injured in the fighting, in addition to a similar number of Ramtha citizens and one police officer.
The clashes, he said, began over a dispute between two groups of young men, then snowballed into a major confrontation between local residents and refugees in the Bashabsheh complex.
The refugees chanted slogans criticising Jordan’s “lenient” position on the Syrian crisis, provoking local residents to attack them, according to the eyewitness.
Ramtha District Governor Radwan Otoum confirmed that an incident had taken place but denied that anyone was injured.
“There have been no injuries on either side. We resolved the dispute between the rivals and sent everyone home without any arrests,” Otoum told The Jordan Times on Monday.
The governor added that the situation is very sensitive in Ramtha due to the large number of Syrian refugees in the city, which is adjacent to the Syrian border.
Mahmoud Zoubi, a shop owner in Ramtha, expressed dismay over the incident, urging the local community to be more accepting and tolerant of the Syrians.
“These are people who were forced to leave their country. They did not come willingly and they are going through a traumatic experience. We need to absorb them and give them the assistance they need until the situation in their homeland is calm again so they can go back,” Zoubi said.
He added that the local community in Ramtha is heavily integrated with Syrians in the town of Daraa across the border, claiming that there have been over 500 marriages between Jordanians and Syrians in the area.