News / Middle East

For Syrian Refugee Family, a Return to War

Homeless Syrian refugees rest by the side of a road in Beirut, July 22, 2013.Homeless Syrian refugees rest by the side of a road in Beirut, July 22, 2013.
x
Homeless Syrian refugees rest by the side of a road in Beirut, July 22, 2013.
Homeless Syrian refugees rest by the side of a road in Beirut, July 22, 2013.
Heather Murdock
In a sparse apartment with a distant view of the Mediterranean, seven-year-old Mohammad describes his life in Syria of just a few months ago: A bomb went off near his father’s store; snipers shot people on the roads; his uncle was killed on his way to buy a sandwich.
 
"Lebanon is not as scary as Syria, but it’s not as good as home," he says, explaining that he doesn’t go to school here, and he doesn’t go out to play.
 
"Playing was before the war, when everyone was happy," he says.
 
Syrian families have been fleeing civil war for more than two years, and it’s never been more dangerous than now. But despite his family's fear of returning, Mohammad's parents are preparing to drive back across the border within hours.
 
For them, both the financial and emotional costs of living as refugees in Beirut has too much to bear, and they are packing their bags despite imminent threats of U.S. military strikes against the Syrian regime for an August 21 poison-gas attack near Damascus that killed nearly 1,500 people, including more than 400 children.
 
“The life here in Lebanon, it’s very expensive, and my husband is so tired in his job," says Mohammad's mother, Lina. With their rent paid only through the end of August, she says, they simply cannot afford another month, which means they simply have no choice.
 
Down the road in the garden of a posh café, Lina’s husband, Chadi, serves nargila, a sweet tobacco pipe known as shisha in Egypt and hookah in other parts of the world.
 
Poverty, he says, is one of the many reasons he is taking his family home despite the danger.
 
"Besides financial troubles, I can no longer stand being treated like an outsider," he says, weeping as he explains the situation. "If he is going to die, I want to die at home with family."
 
Ever since the mid-1970s when the Syrian military established a presence in Lebanon, isolation has a common complaint among Syrians living here. Many Lebanese still resent the occupation, and it colors their attitude toward Syrians in general.
 
Lebanon, a country of less than 5 million people, has also been straining to keep up with the influx of civil-war refugees, now numbering over 700,000 men, women and children.
 
While Chadi and his family know there is a very real possibility of personal catastrophe upon returning to Syria, the strain of living as refugees in this increasingly unstable country is far worse.
 
Chadi feels that a U.S. strike against Syria would be a good thing. He knows that innocent people might die, but he thinks such direct action could be move toward ending Syria's civil war.
 
The United States and other world powers have called repeatedly on all sides in the Syrian conflict to end their war. U.S. President Barack Obama and top officials of his administration have said any action military against Syria that may take occur is not aimed at ending the war or ousting the Assad regime. According to U.S. officials, Washington is considering limited strikes aimed specifically at Syrian government forces and resources in order to punish those responsible for the recent chemical attacks and to deter any future use of such illegal weapons.
 
Before the war in Syria began in 2011, Chadi says, it was possible to live happily in Assad-ruled Syria. But nowadays, as he puts it, they are killing people on the streets.
 
He says he doesn’t care at all who wins this war. He just wants the fighting to stop so he can go home again.

You May Like

Scotland Vote Raises Questions of International Law

Experts say self-determination, as defined and protected by international law, confined narrowly to independence movements in process of de-colonization More

Video Whaling Summit Votes to Uphold Ban on Japan Whale Hunt

Conservationists hail ruling as a victory, but Tokyo says it will submit revised plans for a whale hunt in 2015 More

Annual Military Exercise Takes on New Meaning for Ukraine Troops

Troops from 15 nations participating in annual event, 'Rapid Trident' in western Ukraine More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: rosas from: malaysia
September 02, 2013 11:57 AM
The prolong systemic evaporation of trust amongst Arab leaders holding political or religious authority has breed disintegration of amongst Arab nation. Arabism philosophy is highly carcinogenic as stated in Quran 9:97. Arabism has tarnished the dignity of Deenul-Islam & the dignity of muslim Ummah. Arabism is dragging middle east countries heading towards the 3rd law of thermodynamics. ARAB NATION AT RISK


by: ABWH from: MOROCO
September 02, 2013 9:23 AM
Who's the responsible for this human catastrophe?


by: Anonymous
September 02, 2013 5:58 AM
It's American hypocrisy at its finest!
Foreign Policy Magazine AUGUST 26, 2013

CIA Files Prove America Helped Saddam as He Gassed Iran The U.S. knew Hussein was launching some of the worst chemical attacks in history -- and still gave him a hand. The U.S. government may be considering military action in response to chemical strikes near Damascus. But a generation ago, America's military and intelligence communities knew about and did nothing to stop a series of nerve gas attacks far more devastating than anything Syria has seen, Foreign Policy has learned.

In 1988, during the waning days of Iraq's war with Iran, the United States learned through satellite imagery that Iran was about to gain a major strategic advantage by exploiting a hole in Iraqi defenses. U.S. intelligence officials conveyed the location of the Iranian troops to Iraq, fully aware that Hussein's military would attack with chemical weapons, including sarin, a lethal nerve agent.


by: Lee from: Dali, China
September 01, 2013 9:37 PM
Our world needs peace, not war.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Russian Economy Reeling After New Western Sanctionsi
X
September 18, 2014 2:28 AM
A new wave of Western sanctions is hitting Russia’s economy hard. State-owned energy firms continue to bleed profits and Russia’s national currency plunged to a new low this week after the U.S. and the European Union announced new sanctions to punish Russia's aggressive stance in eastern Ukraine. But as Mil Arcega reports, the sanctions could also prove costly for European and American companies.
Video

Video Russian Economy Reeling After New Western Sanctions

A new wave of Western sanctions is hitting Russia’s economy hard. State-owned energy firms continue to bleed profits and Russia’s national currency plunged to a new low this week after the U.S. and the European Union announced new sanctions to punish Russia's aggressive stance in eastern Ukraine. But as Mil Arcega reports, the sanctions could also prove costly for European and American companies.
Video

Video Belgian Researchers Discover Way to Block Cancer Metastasis

Cancer remains one of the deadliest diseases, despite many new methods to combat it. Modern medicine has treatments to prevent the growth of primary tumor cells. But most cancer deaths are caused by metastasis, the stage when primary tumor cells change and move to other parts of the body. A team of Belgian scientists says it has found a way to prevent that process. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Mogadishu's Flood of Foreign Workers Leaves Somalis Out of Work

Unemployment and conflict has forced many young Somalians out of the country in search of a better life. But a newfound stability in the once-lawless nation has created hope — and jobs — which, some say, are too often being filled by foreigners. Abdulaziz Billow reports from Mogadishu.
Video

Video A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Water

Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Iraqi Kurdistan Church Helps Christian Children Cope find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil

In the past six weeks, tens of thousands of Iraqi Christians have been forced to flee their homes by Islamic State militants and find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil. Despite U.S. airstrikes in the region, the prospect of people returning home is still very low and concerns are starting to grow over the impact this is having on the displaced youth. Sebastian Meyer reports from Irbil on how one church is coping.
Video

Video NASA Picks Boeing, SpaceX to Carry Astronauts Into Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, has chosen Boeing and SpaceX companies to build the next generation of spacecraft that will carry U.S. astronauts to the International Space Station by the year 2017. The deal with private industry enables NASA to end its dependence on Russia to send space crews into low Earth orbit and back. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Future of Ukrainian Former President's Estate Uncertain

More than six months after Ukraine's former President Viktor Yanukovych fled revolution to Russia, authorities have yet to gain control of his palatial estate. Protesters occupy the grounds and opened it to tourists but they are also refusing to turn it over to the state. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Mezhigirya, just north of Kyiv.
Video

Video China Muslims Work to Change Perceptions After Knife Attacks

China says its has sentenced three men to death and one woman to life in prison for a deadly knife attack in March that left more than 30 dead and 140 injured. Beijing says Muslim militants from China's restive western region of Xinjiang carried out the attacks. Now, more than six months after the incident, residents in the city are still coping with the aftermath. VOA's Bill Ide has more from Kunming.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid