News / Middle East

Syrian Refugees Skeptical, Divided Over Peace Talks

FILE - A Syrian refugee woman stands outside a tent at a makeshift camp in the village of Kfarkahel, in the Kura district near the northern city of Tripoli, Dec. 11, 2013
FILE - A Syrian refugee woman stands outside a tent at a makeshift camp in the village of Kfarkahel, in the Kura district near the northern city of Tripoli, Dec. 11, 2013
As Syrian peace talks get underway in Montreux, Switzerland, refugees from the conflict are expressing skepticism about the likely success of the negotiations.

At a medical clinic in the northern Lebanese city of Tripoli, more than 100 Syrian refugees, many with crying babies in their arms, are waiting to see a doctor.  They are pre-occupied with the daily challenges of living far from home.

They are desperate for good fortune and are hopeful the U.S.-Russian-brokered talks will bring peace to Syria. But most are full of pessimism.

Sabr, a 38-year-old mother of two sons who were due to join the Syrian army before the family fled their home in Idlib province, expressed skepticism a solution to the Syrian crisis would be found.

“We have heard about the Geneva [Montreux] talks but we personally don’t believe something is going to happen out of this. But we have hope and we really want to have hope,” she admitted.

Central to the negotiations is the future of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. The Syrian leader has refused to relinquish power, but Western leaders have insisted that a peaceful resolution of the conflict depends upon it.

Faridah, a 51-year-old mother lives near a district in Tripoli where there has been a spillover of violence from Syria’s civil war, with almost daily firefights between Lebanese supporters and opponents of the Assad government. She says there can be no return to her home country while Assad remains in power.

“If they are not going to remove Bashar al-Assad and now we have lost everything, all our houses, what are we going to do, are we going to go back? We lost our parents, our brothers, what are we going to do back there?” asked a skeptical Faridah.

Syrian refugee Ahmed, who is at the clinic with his pregnant wife and sick baby daughter, says he does not care whether or not Assad stays in power.

“I personally don’t care about those talks. All I care about is that there will be peace and no more bombardments and we can go back to our normal life where I can have my children living normally," he said. "I have no relationship to politics whatsoever. I don’t care if it is Bashar staying or not.”

A few kilometers from the clinic and closer to Tripoli’s seaport, Syrian refugees occupying a dismal and crowded shantytown of lean-tos and hastily built breezeblock houses are as desperate about their lives - and as divided over Assad’s fate.

Omar, 23,  is visiting relatives, but says he frequently returns to his home in Homs, one of the hardest-hit towns in the war. He says most of his neighbors there just want the war to end on any terms.

“People are talking there and they hope it will carry some positive effects because the people want the situation to go calmer because people can no longer find a living," he explained. "Whether al-Assad remains and the whole regime remains or changes, people want the calm and that is what they expect of Geneva 2.”

For the families of those fighting the government, return will likely prove impossible until Bashar al-Assad is gone.

You May Like

India PM Modi's Party Distances Itself From Religious Conversions

BJP under fire for being slow to rein in hardline affiliate groups allegedly trying to promote Hindu-dominant agenda by luring Muslims and Christians to convert More

Anti-Whaling Group Found in Contempt of Court

Radical environmentalists who threw acid and smoke bombs at Japanese whalers in the waters off Antarctica continue their campaign to disrupt Japan's annual whale hunt More

UN's Ban Urges End to Discrimination Against Ebola Workers

Ban was speaking in Guinea on the second day of a whistle-stop tour aimed at thanking healthcare workers of the countries at the heart of the epidemic More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
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.
US Decision on Cuba Underscores Divisions Among Miami Cubansi
X
Sharon Behn
December 19, 2014 9:34 PM
For decades, older, more conservative Cubans have been gathering at Café Versailles on the corner of Calle Ocho to eat Cuban food and talk politics. After hearing of President Barack Obama’s decision, a number of them gathered in front of the café with posters to protest. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on the situation.
Video

Video US Decision on Cuba Underscores Divisions Among Miami Cubans

For decades, older, more conservative Cubans have been gathering at Café Versailles on the corner of Calle Ocho to eat Cuban food and talk politics. After hearing of President Barack Obama’s decision, a number of them gathered in front of the café with posters to protest. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on the situation.
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 Cuba Deal is Major Victory for Pope’s Diplomatic Initiatives

Pope Francis played a key role in brokering the US-Cuba deal that was made public earlier this week. It is the most stunning success so far in a series of peacemaking efforts by the pontiff. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
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.
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.

All About America

AppleAndroid