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Most Jordanians say no to more Syrian refugees

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The survey, conducted at the end of August, is the first to measure Jordanian's attitudes toward refugees. As such, Mr. Alkhatib warns, it cannot be taken as a measure of change. But there are indications that the country's mood is growing darker.

"Yesterday there were clashes between the security and the refugees in the camp," Alkhatib says. "So there is a lot of tension. If we had conducted the survey today, we might receive even, not 65 percent, maybe 70 percent [overall]."

The survey also found the largest constituency in favor of closing the border, 88 percent, in the governorate of Mafraq, where the Za'atari refugee camp is located.

There are also indications that Jordanian's feelings about the Syrian uprising as a whole are growing more negative. In focus groups done earlier in the year, Alkhatib says there was a clear perception of the Syrian conflict as "a revolution against the regime." By August, however, 45 percent of respondents to the survey said the situation was an "external conspiracy against Syria."

"People were in favor of seeing [Syria's] revolution, when it was a peaceful revolution," Alkhatib says. "When it comes to armed revolution, people start wondering: is it a revolution or not a revolution? Is it something sponsored by the West, because they want to change the regime, or is it something coming actually from inside Syria?"

Already limited resources

The Jordanian government has emphasized the economic impact of Syrians in its public communications, and with good reason. Jordan is a tiny country, with no oil, little arable land, and limited supplies of water. It is highly dependent on imported energy and food, and its budget is strained by large subsidies. It is currently in the depths of its own economic crisis, something Alkhatib says looms large in the survey results: Worry about Jordan's ability to provide services was the top reason given by respondents who wanted to end the refugee flow, and the largest support for closing the borders came from low-income Jordanians.

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