Picture of the day: The scale of Syria’s suffering


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The Independent Online

What looks like a sprawling city has emerged from the desert dust in northern Jordan.

It is in fact a camp holding refugees from Syria’s civil war and a reminder of the  terrible human toll the conflict has wrought.

This aerial shot shows the vast scale of the Zaatari camp, which has grown to unprecedented levels since it was set up in July last year.

The camp sits 8km from the Syrian border, near the Jordanian city of Mafraq. It is believed to be the world’s largest refugee site after numbers swelled from an estimated 15,000 last August. It has street markets with stalls selling basic household goods.

A huge grid of ramshackle homes stretches as far as the eye can see. About 115,000 people who have fled the conflict live here. They are surviving on a diet of dry rations and long to return home.

The camp’s residents often stage protests against the Syrian government and President Bashar al-Assad.

The civil war across the border in Syria has claimed an estimated 90,000 lives since violence erupted in 2011.

United States Secretary of State John Kerry visited the site earlier this week, where he heard demands for the West to intervene in the civil war.