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On Syria’s border, a city of refugees

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ZAATARI CAMP, Jordan — The manager of the region’s largest camp for Syrian refugees arranges toy figures, trucks and houses on a map in his office trailer to illustrate his ambitious vision. In a year, he wants to turn the chaotic shantytown of 100,000 into a temporary city with local councils, paved streets, parks, an electricity grid and sewage pipes.

Zaatari, a desert camp near Jordan’s border with Syria, is far from that ideal. Life is tough here. The strong often take from the weak, women fear going to communal bathrooms after dark, sewage runs between pre-fab trailers and boys hustle for pennies carting goods in wheelbarrows instead of going to school.

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