News / Middle East

Syrian Refugees in Iraq Face Harsh Winter

Sebastian Meyer
As the conflict in Syria approaches its second anniversary, the number of refugees crossing into Iraq continues to rise. The United Nations and international relief groups are no longer able to provide aid to Syrian families who are facing dire winter conditions in flimsy, ill-equipped camps.

Freezing rain falls on the Arbat Refugee Camp in northern Iraq, more than 400 kilometers from the Syrian border. In the past five months, more than 500 Syrian refugees have traveled to this ad hoc camp in the middle of a bean field.

The children who are not playing outside in the mud try to stay warm by burning refuse found in an abandoned sheep barn.

Fuaz Akil is an ethnic Kurd from the Syrian city of Deir Ezzor. He's living with his family of 10 in a tent donated by the semi-autonomous Kurdish government of northern Iraq.

"We didn't come here for pleasure. We're suffering. Our house was destroyed. We lost everything. We came here because this is Kurdistan and these are our people," he said. "But still we are suffering. We're not living in this tent for fun. We had our own house. We had our own car. Our own tractor."

With more than 80,000 Syrian refugees in Iraq, the U.N. and other international agencies aren't supplying essentials to those crossing the border.

Tents, toilets, and food have been donated by the local government or by local charities.

Fatma Moussa, also a Kurd, traveled nearly a thousand kilometers from Aleppo after her house was destroyed by a rocket.

"It was the middle of the night when we left Aleppo. We were driven to Hasaka and then to the Iraqi border. It was snowing and I had to carry my son on my back," she said.

As the rain falls, children dart between shelters, trying to stay dry.

With the conflict in Syria showing no signs of abating, these refugees will continue to suffer through a harsh winter in the foothills of Iraq.

You May Like

How to Safeguard Your Mobile Privacy

As the digital world becomes more mobile, so too do concerns about eroding privacy and increased hacking More

'Desert Dancer' Chronicles Iranian Underground Dance Troupe

Film by Richard Raymond is based on true story of Afshin Ghaffarian and his friends More

Researcher: Obesity Poses Complex Problem

Professor at Symposium on Obesity, Diabetes and Metabolic Syndrome says problem involves more than calorie intake, warns of worldwide health impact More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: JKF from: Ottawa, Canada
February 07, 2013 11:04 AM
Are these refugees getting ignored, because they are in a remote Kurdish area, that does not have infrastructure? If the UN can't provide relief at the location, why does not the UN provide funds to move the refugees to an area it can help them? I do not know how these UN experts work; surely it should only take someone with an average IQ to resolve this issue; we are not talking about having to deliver help to the Moon?

They spend millions going to conferences/training seminars, and yet still they can't seem to solve the simplest of problems! In my opinion, if they can't solve this simple problem, the UN must be filled with too many people appointed by patronage, rather than ability, natural capabilities and a touch of common sense, for surely they are not biased against Kurdish refugees? or are they?

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Scientists Say Plankton More Important Than Previously Thoughti
X
George Putic
May 26, 2015 9:26 PM
Tiny ocean creatures called plankton are mostly thought of as food for whales and other large marine animals, but a four-year global study discovered, among other things, that plankton are a major source of oxygen on our planet. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Scientists Say Plankton More Important Than Previously Thought

Tiny ocean creatures called plankton are mostly thought of as food for whales and other large marine animals, but a four-year global study discovered, among other things, that plankton are a major source of oxygen on our planet. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Kenyans Lament Losing Sons to al-Shabab

There is agony, fear and lost hope in the Kenyan town of Isiolo, a key target of a new al-Shabab recruitment drive. VOA's Mohammed Yusuf visits Isiolo to speak with families and at least one man who says he was a recruiter.
Video

Video US-led Coalition Gives Some Weapons to Iraqi Troops

In a video released Tuesday from the Iraqi Ministry of Defense, Iraqi forces and U.S.-led coalition troops survey a cache of weapons supplied to help Iraq liberate Mosul from Islamic State group. According to a statement provided with the video, the ministry and the U.S.-led coaltion troops have started ''supplying the 16th army division with medium and light weapons in preparation to liberate Mosul and nearby areas from Da'esh (Arabic acronym for Islamic State group).''
Video

Video Amnesty International: 'Overwhelming Evidence' of War Crimes in Ukraine

Human rights group Amnesty International says there is overwhelming evidence of ongoing war crimes in Ukraine, despite a tentative cease-fire with pro-Russian rebels. Researchers interviewed more than 30 prisoners from both sides of the conflict and all but one said they were tortured. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Washington Parade Honors Those Killed Serving in US Military

Every year, on the last Monday in the month of May, millions of Americans honor the memories of those killed while serving in the armed forces. Memorial Day is a tradition that dates back to the 19th Century. While many people celebrate the federal holiday with a barbecue and a day off from work, for those who’ve served in the military, it’s a special day to remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice. Arash Arabasadi reports for VOA from Washington.
Video

Video Kenya’s Capital Sees Rise in Shisha Parlors

In Kenya, the smoking of shisha, a type of flavored tobacco, is the latest craze. Patrons are flocking to shisha parlors to smoke and socialize. But the practice can be addictive and harmful, though many dabblers may not realize the dangers, according to a new review. Lenny Ruvaga has more on the story for VOA from Nairobi, Kenya.
Video

Video Rolling Thunder Run Reveals Changed Attitudes Towards Vietnam War

For many US war veterans, the Memorial Day holiday is an opportunity to look back at a divisive conflict in the nation’s history and to remember those who did not make it home.
Video

Video Female American Soldiers: Healing Through Filmmaking

According to the United States Defense Department, there are more than 200-thousand women serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.  Like their male counterparts, females have experiences that can be very traumatic.  VOA's Bernard Shusman tells us about a program that is helping some American women in the military heal through filmmaking.
Video

Video Iowa Family's Sacrifice Shaped US Military Service for Generations

Few places in America have experienced war like Waterloo. This small town in the Midwest state of Iowa became famous during World War II not for what it accomplished, but what it lost. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the legacy of one family’s sacrifice is still a reminder today of the real cost of war for all families on the homefront.
Video

Video On Film: How Dance Defies Iran's Political Oppression

'Desert Dancer' by filmmaker Richard Raymond is based on the true story of a group of young Iranians, who form an underground dance troupe in the Islamic Republic of Iran. This is the latest in a genre of films that focus on dance as a form of freedom of expression against political oppression and social injustice. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Turkey's Ruling Party Trying to Lure Voters in Opposition Stronghold

Turkey’s AK (Justice and Development) Party is seeking a fourth successive general election victory, with the goal of securing two-thirds of the seats in Parliament to rewrite the constitution and change the country's parliamentary system into a presidential one. To achieve that, the party will need to win seats in opposition strongholds like the western city of Izmir. Dorian Jones reports.
Video

Video Millions Flock to Ethiopia Polls

Millions of Ethiopians cast their votes Sunday in the first national election since the 2012 death of longtime leader Meles Zenawi. Mr. Meles' party, the Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front, is almost certain of victory again. VOA's Anita Powell reports from Addis Ababa.

VOA Blogs