Moroccan King Mohammed VI on Thursday toured a field hospital treating Syrian refugees in northern Jordan -- the first Arab head of state to visit the desert compound.
On the second day of his trip to Jordan, where he held talks with King Abdullah II, Mohammed VI inspected a Moroccan field hospital in the Zaatari camp, which houses around 36,000 Syrian refugees.
“Long live Morocco,” chanted a group of refugees as they greeted Mohammed VI, who shook hands with some of them before ending his 20-minute tour amid tight security, according to AFP.
After his 20-vehicle motorcade left the camp, around 100 Syrians gathered, chanting: “The people want to arm the Free Syrian Army, regime forces are traitors.”
Earlier in Amman, Mohammed VI and King Abdullah II discussed the Syrian crisis, a palace statement said.
“King Abdullah warned against the dangerous repercussions for the entire region,” it added.
He called on “the international community to keep helping Jordan to provide services for more than 200,000 Syrian refugees in the kingdom.”
Jordan has said it was planning to set up a new refugee camp west of the capital Amman if the influx of Syrians fleeing to the kingdom keeps growing.
Syria’s uprising, which began in March 2011, has killed more than 33,000 people, according to activists. The violence has displaced more than one million Syrians inside the country, and also triggered an exodus of people from the country.
Figures released by the U.N. humanitarian office last week indicate more than 340,000 people have fled across Syria’s borders, mainly seeking refuge in neighboring nations. The largest number -- more than 100,000 -- have found refuge in Jordan. OCHA expects the total number of Syrian refugees to reach 710,000 by the end of the year.
King Mohammed VI began a tour of Gulf Arab states Tuesday, as the north African nation struggles with a financing crunch and what the IMF projects may be its second-biggest budget deficit in at least six years.
The monarch’s four-nation tour includes Saudi Arabia, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates and Kuwait. The trip comes a year after Morocco signed an accord with the six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) that provides $5 billion in funding over five years for development projects.