The U.N. refugee agency says Jordan has begun deporting Sudanese asylum seekers after detaining about 800 of them and holding them near the country's international airport.

Aoife McDonnell, an agency spokeswoman in Jordan, says she received reports that 430 Sudanese were taken from Jordan to their home country in three flights Friday.

She says the agency is "extremely concerned" about others who are held in a loading bay near the airport.

Jordanian government spokesman Mohammed Momani confirmed deportations had begun. He says that "the majority will be leaving" Friday.

The U.N. agency has tried to halt the deportations to Sudan, saying the asylum seekers risk possible persecution there and that deportations would violate international law.

About 3,500 Sudanese, the majority from the troubled Darfur region, had sought refuge in Jordan.