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

Uganda Court Annuls Anti-Gay Law

Court says law was passed in parliament without enough members present for a full quorum More

Multimedia Thailand Makes Efforts to Improve Conditions for Migrant Laborers

In Thailand, its not uncommon for parents to bring their children to work; one company, in-collaboration with other organizations, address safety concerns More

In Indonesia, Jihad Video Raises Concern

Video calls on Indonesians to join Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, ISIL 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.
In Thailand, Some Efforts to Improve Conditions For Migrant Laborersi
X
Steve Herman
August 01, 2014 6:22 PM
Thailand has been facing increasing international scrutiny as a hub of human trafficking and slave labor. Some of the kingdom’s companies are striving to improve working conditions, especially for the millions of migrant laborers from surrounding countries. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Bangkok takes a look at one initiative for children at construction sites
Video

Video In Thailand, Some Efforts to Improve Conditions For Migrant Laborers

Thailand has been facing increasing international scrutiny as a hub of human trafficking and slave labor. Some of the kingdom’s companies are striving to improve working conditions, especially for the millions of migrant laborers from surrounding countries. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Bangkok takes a look at one initiative for children at construction sites
Video

Video Public Raises its Voice on Power Plant Pollution

In the United States, proposed rules to cut pollution from the nation’s 600 coal-fired power plants are generating a heated debate. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, charged with writing and implementing the plan, has already received 300,000 written comments. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, another 1,600 people are lining up this week at EPA headquarters and at satellite offices around the country to give their testimony in person.
Video

Video Information War Rages Alongside Real One in Ukraine

The downing of the Malaysian airliner two weeks ago, and allegations that Russians are shelling Ukrainian troops across the border, have moved the information war swirling around the Ukrainian conflict to a new level. VOA's Al Pessin reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video When Fighting Eases, Gazans Line Up at Bakeries

When there is a lull in the conflict in Gaza, residents who have been hunkered down in their apartments rush out to stock up on food and other necessities. Probably the most important destination is the local bakery. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Gaza City.
Video

Video China Investigates Powerful Former Security Chief

The public in China is welcoming the Communist Party's decision to investigate one of the country's once most powerful politicians, former domestic security chief Zhou Yongkang. Analysts say the move by President Xi Jinping is not only an effort to win more support for the party, but an essential step to furthering much needed economic reforms and removing those who would stand in the way of change. VOA's Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video US-Funded Program Offers Honduran Children Alternative to Illegal Immigration

President Obama and Central American leaders recently agreed to come up with a plan to address poverty and crime in the region that is fueling the surge of young migrants trying to illegally enter the United States. VOA’s Brian Padden looks at one such program in Honduras - funded in part by the United States - which gives street kids not only food and safety but a chance for a better life without, crossing the border.
Video

Video 'Fab Lab' Igniting Revolution in Kenya

The University of Nairobi’s Science and Technology Park is banking on 3-D prototyping to spark a manufacturing revolution in the country. Lenny Ruvaga has more for from Nairobi's so-called “FabLab” for VOA.
Video

Video Immigrant Influx on Texas Border Heats Up Political Debate

Immigrants from Central America continue to cross the U.S.-Mexico border in south Texas, seeking asylum in the United States, as officials grapple with ways to deal with the problem and provide shelter for thousands of minors among the illegal border crossers. As VOA's Greg Flakus reports from Houston, the issue is complicated by internal U.S. politics and U.S. relations with the troubled nations that immigrants are fleeing.

AppleAndroid