35,000 Syria refugees have gone home

Almost 35,000 Syrian refugees have returned home from Jordan since their country's conflict broke out in March 2011, but a larger number joined the exodus last month alone, a government spokesman said on Friday.

"34,824 Syrian refugees have gone back to their country since the start of the crisis," Anmar al-Hammud, spokesman for the refugee file, told AFP.

He said around 2,500 of them had returned at their own request from the Zaatari refugee camp in northern Jordan on Thursday with the assistance of Jordanian security services.

Jordan says it is hosting more than 475,000 refugees from Syria, including over 146,000 at Zaatari, a border camp whose residents have staged several protests over the tough living conditions.

More than 41,000 Syrian refugees entered Jordan in March alone, said Hammud, adding that the kingdom fears the total number will have soared to 700,000 by the end of this year.

Around 1.2 million Syrians have fled to neighbouring countries over the past two years, according to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.