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Syria's Internally Displaced On the Rise

  • Elizabeth Arrott

Hundreds of thousands of Syrians have fled their nation's civil war and their numbers keep growing. Many are in the camps of neighboring countries.
But not all Syrians seeking safety are able – or willing – to leave the country.
At a former clinic in Dummar, on the outskirts of Damascus, government volunteers help an influx of displaced arrived from Aleppo, many who have spent previous weeks camped out in the open.
MAP: Deaths Across Syria, October 5, 2012.

MAP: Deaths Across Syria, October 5, 2012.

With a government official assigned to monitor VOA's reporting, children are quick to chant slogans praising President Bashar al-Assad.
Slogans aside, the overwhelming sense here is one of citizens caught in the middle.
Syrians reeling
Mohamed Turkemani, a worker from Aleppo, described how he was wounded in the cross-fire between government forces and rebels.
Turkemani said military planes, having spotted groups of armed men in their area, sent down shells near his home. He said “Many, many people died.” He showed his battered leg, now pinned with metal screws.
A young mother, displaced from Aleppo, cares for her newborn at a government center in Dummar, Syria. (E. Arrott/VOA)

A young mother, displaced from Aleppo, cares for her newborn at a government center in Dummar, Syria. (E. Arrott/VOA)

The government, whose military attacked his city, now provides him with medical care, along with the basics of food, clothing and shelter.
Despite the battles raging in Aleppo and cities and towns across the country, some here are confident that the government has the situation under control.
"I have a lot of friends from Australia [who ask] 'Why are you living here? Leave the country. What are you doing here?'" said Safi Ayoush, a shelter volunteer who is a Syrian Australian. "I say it is safe. I live here, even I got married in two months and I had my marriage here."
Ayoush predicts President Assad will win the next election.
Syrian nationalism
But lead volunteer Nisrat Abboud stressed the need to reach out to the opposition and work for Syria, not for one man.
”This is my work," Abboud said. "When I be [a] volunteer, I be [a] volunteer to help all the Syrian people... You know we don't have a photo of the president on our T-shirt, just the map of Syria."
Reconciliation may be far off, but change, say some, is not.
Researcher Bessam Abu Abdullah, a member of the ruling Ba'ath party, runs a private political research center in the capital.
"I think we will see another Syria," Abdullah said. "This regime, when they are saying this regime should collapse, this regime is finished."
Abdullah's view is that it's not because the party is wrong, it's just the system is not sustainable.
Back at the center for displaced in Dummar, a young mother cared for her baby, born outdoors, in a park, less than three weeks before.
For the mother and child, change cannot come soon enough.
- Japhet Weeks contributed to this report.

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