News / Middle East

    Syrian Refugees Struggle in Cairo

    Elizabeth Arrott
    The turmoil in Egypt has had repercussions for the estimated several hundred thousand Syrians who had thought they would find refuge there. 

    Syrian refugee Wael Mustafa came to Cairo last year and within months, he had found work, a place to live and could support his extended family.

    “Here everything is easy. The people are easy. To find a job is easy. To move here is easy,” he said.

    It is not so easy anymore.

    Two months after Mustafa last talked to VOA, President Mohamed Morsi, a strong supporter of Syria's opposition, was ousted from power.  And everything changed.

    “After Morsi go, I saw some Egyptian people look at us like we are not good people, we are bad people,” said Mustafa.

    His business, he said, has suffered. And previous generosity from the government, access to health care and schooling, is under review.

    Syrians were once welcomed as historic allies who backed a popular uprising much like Egypt's.  Now they've become linked with Morsi in the military-led government's crackdown on his Muslim Brotherhood.

    Activist Haitham Maleh, of the National Coalition of Syrian Revolution and Opposition Forces, noted that hundreds of Syrians in Egypt have been arrested by police or beaten in the streets, while others have been deported.  State media, he said, have just made things worse.

    “Some media spoke in a very bad way against us.  Some media say we are like Muslim Brotherhood - something terrorist.  Free Syrian army are terrorists,” said Maleh.

    Egypt's government has also adopted stringent new visa rules, making it harder for Syrians to find refuge here.

    “Syrian people came to Egypt and their families will follow them.  Now, [they] cannot, and [they] stay in Lebanon or Turkey or Syria.  And some Syrian people go back to Syria,” said Mustafa.

    And they are going even in the face of possible outside military intervention. 

    Mustafa, from the war-ravaged outskirts of Damascus, shied away from Syrian politics a few months ago. Now, he is desperate to see Syria's government fall.

    “We need someone to come fix this problem.  Maybe America can fix this.  We don't know, but sure, we're scared.  We are scared for [the] people.  We are scared for the country,” he said.

    Intervention or not, Mustafa has no intention of going back. And despite what he says are his very nice Egyptian neighbors, he does not plan on staying here either.  He recently began applying for visas for the United States and Europe.

    You May Like

    UN Observes International Day of Peacekeepers

    The U.N. honors 3,400 peacekeepers killed since first mission in 1948

    Video Rolling Thunder Tribute to US Military Turns into a Trump Rally

    Half-million motorcycles are expected to rumble Sunday afternoon from Pentagon to Vietnam War Memorial for rally in event group calls Ride for Freedom

    The Struggle With Painkillers: Treating Pain Without Feeding Addiction

    'Wonder drug' pain medications have turned out to be major problem: not only do they run high risk of addicting the user, but they can actually make patients' chronic pain worse, US CDC says

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trendi
    X
    May 27, 2016 5:57 AM
    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trend

    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Reactions to Trump's Success Polarized Abroad

    What seemed impossible less than a year ago is now almost a certainty. New York real estate mogul Donald Trump has won the number of delegates needed to secure the Republican presidential nomination. The prospect has sparked as much controversy abroad as it has in the United States. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Drawings by Children in Hiroshima Show Hope and Peace

    On Friday, President Barack Obama will visit Hiroshima, Japan, the first American president to do so while in office. In August 1945, the United States dropped an atomic bomb on the city to force Japan's surrender in World War II. Although their city lay in ruins, some Hiroshima schoolchildren drew pictures of hope and peace. The former students and their drawings are now part of a documentary called “Pictures from a Hiroshima Schoolyard.” VOA's Deborah Block has the story.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese Rapper Performs for Obama

    A prominent young Vietnamese artist told President Obama said she faced roadblocks as a woman rapper, and asked the president about government support for the arts. He asked her to rap, and he even offered to provide a base beat for her. Watch what happened.
    Video

    Video Roots Run Deep for Tunisia's Dwindling Jewish Community

    This week, hundreds of Jewish pilgrims are defying terrorist threats to celebrate an ancient religious festival on the Tunisian island of Djerba. The festivities cast a spotlight on North Africa's once-vibrant Jewish population that has all but died out in recent decades. Despite rising threats of militant Islam and the country's battered economy, one of the Arab world's last Jewish communities is staying put and nurturing a new generation. VOA’s Lisa Bryant reports.
    Video

    Video Meet Your New Co-Worker: The Robot

    Increasing numbers of robots are joining the workforce, as companies scale back and more processes become automated. The latest robots are flexible and collaborative, built to work alongside humans as opposed to replacing them. VOA’s Tina Trinh looks at the next generation of automated employees helping out their human colleagues.
    Video

    Video Wheelchair Technology in Tune With Times

    Technologies for the disabled, including wheelchair technology, are advancing just as quickly as everything else in the digital age. Two new advances in wheelchairs offer improved control and a more comfortable fit. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Baby Boxes Offer Safe Haven for Unwanted Children

    No one knows exactly how many babies are abandoned worldwide each year. The statistic is a difficult one to determine because it is illegal in most places. Therefore unwanted babies are often hidden and left to die. But as Erika Celeste reports from Woodburn, Indiana, a new program hopes to make surrendering infants safer for everyone.
    Video

    Video California Celebration Showcases Local Wines, Balloons

    Communities in the U.S. often hold festivals to show what makes them special. In California, for example, farmers near Fresno celebrate their figs and those around Gilmore showcase their garlic. Mike O'Sullivan reports that the wine-producing region of Temecula offers local vintages in an annual festival where rides on hot-air balloons add to the excitement.
    Video

    Video US Elementary School Offers Living Science Lessons

    Zero is not a good score on a test at school. But Discovery Elementary is proud of its “net zero” rating. Net zero describes a building in which the amount of energy provided by on-site renewable sources equals the amount of energy the building uses. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, the innovative features in the building turn the school into a teaching tool, where kids can't help but learn about science and sustainability. Faith Lapidus narrates.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora