80,000 Syrians Take Refuge in Jordan

Scott Bobb

The Syrian government's assault on opposition strongholds is causing more and more people to flee the country. Neighboring countries such as Jordan are trying to help them, but the influx is straining limited resources.

Early morning at this makeshift camp near Karama in the Jordan River Valley.  Some of the 80,000 Syrians who have taken refuge in Jordan have come to this farming area hoping to find work.

Sixteen-year-old Khaled al-Ahmed arrived a few days ago, fleeing what he calls the slaughter in Idlib, northern Syria.  He wants his face hidden.  He fears for the safety of his relatives back home. He says his family is desperate.

“There is no bread. There is no money to live on.  I want to transfer money from here to them. But I cannot because if it reaches there it is stolen. So how do you think they are living? They are starving," he said.

The fighting in Syria has grown increasingly deadly. The Syrian army is using tanks and artillery against rebels opposed to President Bashar al-Assad.  Civilians are bearing the brunt of the conflict, which started as mostly peaceful demonstrations against the 40-year regime of the Assad family.

Dr. Wasfi al-Rashda heads the Irbid Specialty Hospital.  He says the condition of the refugees is deplorable but is to be expected.

“Any refugee who leaves his homeland, who leaves his house, obviously is going to need humanitarian aid and medical care," he said.

Many refugees receive help from the Jordanians.  A local farmer lets these people live on his land.  And the Jordanian government has donated tents and blankets. But it is not enough. This woman is ill and fainted.

Ali Hamad arrived two months ago from Hama, central Syria. He says life in the camp is hard for the refugees. The best they can hope for is temporary jobs in the fields.

“We are here doing nothing. If we find jobs we work just to have the basics, to survive. Clothes for the children, food, some small spending money, that's what we are asking," he said.

Ali Hamad is engaged to 20-year-old Mariam, also from Hama. They want to get married but cannot as long as they are refugees. Mariam hopes for a peaceful resolution to the conflict.

"God willing I will go back to Syria. God willing the war will calm down and the situation will be quiet and then I will return," he said.

That is the hope of all of the people here.

This forum has been closed.
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Hungary Criticized for Handling of Refugeesi
Henry Ridgwell
October 08, 2015 8:02 PM
Amnesty International has accused Hungary of breaking multiple international and European human rights laws in its handling of the refugee crisis. As Henry Ridgwell reports, thousands of migrants and refugees continue to travel through the Balkans to Hungary every day.

Video Hungary Criticized for Handling of Refugees

Amnesty International has accused Hungary of breaking multiple international and European human rights laws in its handling of the refugee crisis. As Henry Ridgwell reports, thousands of migrants and refugees continue to travel through the Balkans to Hungary every day.

Video Iraqi-Kurdish Teachers Vow to Continue Protest

Sixteen people were injured when police used tear gas and rubber bullets to disperse teachers and other public employees who took to the streets in Iraq’s Kurdish north, demanding their salaries from the Kurdish Regional Government (KRG). VOA’s Dilshad Anwar, in Sulaimaniya, caught up with protesting teachers who say they have not been paid for three months. Parke Brewer narrates his report.

Video Syrian Village Community Faces Double Displacement in Lebanon

Driven by war from their village in southwestern Syria, a group of families found shelter in Lebanon, resettling en masse in a half-built university to form one of the biggest settlements of its kind in Lebanon. Three years later, however, they now face being kicked out and dispersed in a country where finding shelter as a refugee can be especially tough. John Owens has more for VOA from the city of Saida, also known as Sidon.

Video Bat Colony: Unusual Tourist Attraction in Texas

The action hero Batman might be everyone’s favorite but real bats hardly get that kind of adoration. Put more than a million of these creatures of the night together and it only evokes images of horror. Sarah Zaman visited the largest urban bat colony in North America to see just how well bat and human get along with each other.

Video Device Shows Promise of Stopping Motion Sickness

It’s a sickening feeling — the dizziness, nausea and vomiting that comes with motion sickness. But a device now being developed could stop motion sickness by suppressing certain signals in the brain. VOA’s Deborah Block reports.

Video Making a Mint

While apples, corn, and cranberries top the list of fall produce in the US, it’s also the time to harvest gum, candy, and toothpaste—or at least the oil that makes them minty fresh. Erika Celeste reports from South Bend, Indiana on the mint harvest.

Video Activists Decry Lagos Slum Demolition

Acting on a court order, authorities in Nigeria demolished a slum last month in the commercial capital, Lagos. But human rights activists say the order was illegal, and the community was razed to make way for a government housing project. Chris Stein has more from Lagos.

Video TPP Agreed, But Faces Stiff Opposition

President Barack Obama promoted the Trans-Pacific Partnership on Tuesday, one day after 12 Pacific Rim nations reached the free trade deal in Atlanta. The controversial pact that would involve about 40 percent of global trade still needs approval by lawmakers in respective countries. Zlatica Hoke reports Obama is facing strong opposition to the deal, including from members of his own party.

Video Ukranian Artist Portrays Putin in an Unusual Way

As Russian President Vladimir Putin was addressing the United Nations in New York last month, he was also being featured in an art exhibition in Washington. It’s not a flattering exhibit. It’s done by a Ukrainian artist in a unique medium. And its creator says it’s not only a work of art - it’s a political statement. VOA’s Tetiana Kharchenko has more.

Video Nano-tech Filter Cleans Dirty Water

Access to clean water is a problem for hundreds of millions of people around the world. Now, a scientist and chemical engineer in Tanzania (in East Africa) is working to change that by creating an innovative water filter that makes dirty water safe. VOA’s Deborah Block has the story.

Video Demand Rising for Organic Produce in Cambodia

In Cambodia, where rice has long been the main cash crop, farmers are being encouraged to turn to vegetables to satisfy the growing demand for locally produced organic farm products. Daniel de Carteret has more from Phnom Penh.

Video Botanists Grow Furniture, with Pruning Shears

For something a bit out of the ordinary to furnish your home, why not consider wooden chairs, crafted by nature, with a little help from some British botanists with an eye for design. VOA’s Jessica Berman reports.

VOA Blogs