News / Middle East

Syrian Refugees Struggle on Lebanese Border

Al Pessin
WADI KHALED, Lebanon — Syrian refugees in Lebanon's far northeast corner can hear the war raging across the border, where some of their family members are fighting, and dying, in the revolt against Bashar al-Assad. 
 
The men are clamoring for a signature on their ration cards. For them, it is the difference between feeding their families tonight, and not. The refugees here support the Syrian revolution, and they have fled the government's shelling of their villages.

Donated food is their lifeline. Volunteers at a mosque ration it out as each person reaches the door. But it is barely enough.
 
Batoul Hamadi, a 17-year-old girl, had dreams of becoming an accountant. Now she collects bread for 18 members of her family. "My mother wouldn't allow me to work. But I should look for work to provide for me and my sisters and brothers. I need to work. I'm obliged to bring in money for my family," she said. 
 
Across northern Lebanon it's easy to see smoke rising from some of the villages the refugees have fled.
 
The people at this makeshift refugee center are safe from the violence. But the same cannot be said about some of their relatives. Fuda Hussein has lost three of her sons fighting for the Free Syrian Army. "How should I feel? I feel nothing. I lost my house, I lost my sons. I have nothing. I only ask God to make me patient and give me the strength to keep us alive," she said. 

She lives in a room with several other women and their children. The electricity works only sometimes and dozens share one toilet.
 
Syria is literally a stone's throw away from some neighborhoods here. The family at this large but very basic house is hosting 27-year-old Khaled Daor, who was a rebel fighter until he lost part of his right hand to an artillery shell explosion. "My country is in bad shape. It is being bombed every day. How can I express it? It's very stressful. Life is very difficult," he said. 
 
The refugees in Wadi Khaled received Lebanese government medical help for a while, but that has stopped. The valley's economy is at a standstill, with the war all but ending cross-border trade. And the local council has no resources to help, says the regional mukhtar Ali Al-Badawi. "As long as the Assad regime stays in power, we will have no future and our situation will continue to be very bad," he said. 
 
Some of the Syrian refugees have been in Lebanon for more than a year. And with recent rebel advances and the strong government counteroffensive, it is more difficult than ever to predict when they might be able to go home. 

You May Like

Obama: Alaskans Feel Signs of Climate Change

They're seeing bigger storm surges as sea ice melts, more wildfires, erosion of glaciers, shorelines More

1855 Slave Brochure Starkly Details Sale of Black Americans

Document lists entire families that were up for sale in New Orleans, offering graphic insight into the slavery trade More

Katrina Brought Enduring Changes to New Orleans

The city’s recovery is the result of the people and culture the city is famous for, as well as newcomers and start-up industries More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Anonymous
July 25, 2012 4:35 PM
I think it is great Lebanon and Syria are offering a helping hand, all of which should be billed back to Syria, for Mr Assad to pay for out of his very own pocket.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalatesi
X
August 27, 2015 2:08 AM
Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Is China's Economic Data Accurate?

Some investors say China's wild stock market gyrations have been made worse by worries about the reliability of that nation's economic data. And some critics say the reports can mislead investors by painting an unrealistically-strong picture of the economy. A key China scholar says Beijing is not fudging ((manipulating)) the numbers, but that the economy is evolving quickly from smoke-stack industries to services, and the ways of tracking new economic activity are falling behind the change. V
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Shipping Containers Provide Experimental Housing

Housing prices around the San Francisco Bay area are out of reach for many people, so some young entrepreneurs, artists and tech industry workers are creating their own houses using converted shipping containers. But as VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports from Oakland, the effort requires ingenuity and dealing with restrictive local laws.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video Technique May Eliminate Drill-and-Fill Dental Care

Many people dread visiting dentists because they're afraid of drills. Now, however, a technology developed by a British firm promises to eliminate the need for mechanical cleaning of dental cavities by speeding a natural process of tooth repair. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.
Video

Video French Experiment in Integrating Roma Under Threat

Plans to destroy France’s oldest slum have sparked an outcry on the part of its Roma residents. As Lisa Bryant reports from the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, rights groups argue the community is a fledgling experiment on integrating Roma who are often outcasts in many parts of Europe.
Video

Video Kenyans Turn to Agriculture for Business

Each year Kenyan universities continue to churn out graduates for the job market despite the already existing high rate of unemployment among youth in the country. Some of these young men and women have realized that agriculture can be as rewarding as any other business or job, and they are resorting to agribusiness in large numbers as a way of tackling unemployment. Rael Ombuor reports for VOA.
Video

Video First Women Graduate Elite Army Ranger School

Two women are making history for the U.S. Army by proving they are among the toughest of the tough. VOA's Carla Babb reports from Fort Benning, Georgia as 94 men and those two women rise as graduates of the difficult Ranger school.

VOA Blogs