When Refugees are Combatants: On the Zaatari Camp in Jordan

Posted by John Rosenthal

Apart from the over 100,000 people that are estimated to have been killed, the most dramatic statistic illustrating the humanitarian crisis entailed by the ongoing war in Syria is surely the over 2 million Syrians who are estimated to have become refugees in neighboring countries. Many of these refugees are being housed in camps set up under the auspices of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). Details in a recent French report, however, show that one of the largest such camps, the Zaatari camp in Jordan, is, in effect, being used as a safe haven for rebel forces fighting to overthrow Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

The revelations are particularly significant in light of the presence in the camp of a French military hospital. Established as an ostensibly humanitarian initiative, it is clear from the details of the report that at least some of the patients being treated at the French hospital are not civilians, but rather wounded rebel fighters…

See my new article at Asia Times Online here.

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