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

South Korea Divided on Response to North’s Cyber Attack

In past five years, officials in Seoul have accused Pyongyang of hacking into banks, government websites, causing chaos and inflicting millions of dollars in damages More

Video Calm Amid Fear in Daily Life in S. Sudan’s Bentiu

Residents have been trying to regain some sense of normalcy, but planning for the future remains uncertain as fear of attacks looms More

2015 Could Be Watershed for Syria Conflict

Republican control of US Senate in January could lead to more aggressive policy against IS militants in Syria - and against regime of Bashar al-Assad 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.
Ugandan Doctors Aid Victims of Sudan's Civil Wari
X
Adam Bailes
December 22, 2014 3:45 PM
In Sudan's state of South Kordofan, the number of amputees as result of civil war is in the thousands, but few have access to sufficient medical help. Adam Bailes recently visited the area and says a small team of Ugandan doctors has been providing remote help, producing new prosthetic limbs for those in need.
Video

Video Ugandan Doctors Aid Victims of Sudan's Civil War

In Sudan's state of South Kordofan, the number of amputees as result of civil war is in the thousands, but few have access to sufficient medical help. Adam Bailes recently visited the area and says a small team of Ugandan doctors has been providing remote help, producing new prosthetic limbs for those in need.
Video

Video Jane Monheit Christmas Special

Chanteuse Jane Monheit sings the holiday classic “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas,” and explains why it’s her favorite song of the season.
Video

Video Calm Amid Fear in Daily Life in S. Sudan’s Town of Bentiu

Six months ago, Bentiu was a ghost town. The capital of northern Unity State, near South Sudan’s important oil fields, had changed hands several times in fighting between government forces and rebels. Calm returned in November and since then, residents of Bentiu have been trying to regain some sense of normalcy. Bentiu’s market has reopened there are plans to start school again. But fears of new attacks hang heavy, as Benno Muchler reports from Bentiu.
Video

Video US Business Groups Press for Greater Access to Cuba

President Barack Obama's decision to do all he can to ease restrictions on U.S. trade, travel and financial activities with Cuba has drawn criticism from some conservatives and Republicans. People who bring tourists to the island and farmers who want to sell more food to Cuba, however, think they can do a lot more business with Cuba. VOA's Jim Randle reports.
Video

Video Three Cities Bid for Future Obama Presidential Library

President Barack Obama still has two years left in his term in office, but the effort to establish his post-presidential library is already underway. The bid for the Obama Presidential Library is down to four locations in three states -- New York, Hawaii, and Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, each of them played an important part in the president’s life before he reached the White House.
Video

Video Fears of More Political Gridlock in 2015

2014 proved to be a difficult year politically for President Barack Obama and a very good year for the U.S. Republican Party. Republican gains in the November midterm elections gave them control of the Senate and House of Representatives for the next two years -- setting the stage for more confrontation and gridlock in the final two years of the Obama presidency. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone has a preview from Washington.
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. VOA reporter Ayaz Gul visited the devastated school and attended the funeral of the principal who courageously tried to save her students from the deadly attack.

All About America

AppleAndroid