News / Middle East

Syrian Refugees Seek Out Smugglers

Syrian Refugees Seek Out Smugglersi
|| 0:00:00
X
Margaret Besheer
August 06, 2012 3:11 PM
The United Nations says more than 30,000 Syrians have sought refuge from their country's conflict in neighboring Lebanon. VOA's Margaret Besheer reports from the northern Lebanese city of Tripoli that many of those refugees have sought out smugglers to spirit them to safety.

The United Nations says more than 30,000 Syrians have sought refuge from their country's conflict in neighboring Lebanon

Margaret Besheer
TRIPOLI, Lebanon — The United Nations says more than 30,000 Syrians have sought refuge from their country's conflict in neighboring Lebanon. Many of those refugees have sought out smugglers to spirit them to safety.

Umm Shaker used to work at the Syrian Army base in Baba Amr in Homs. She said she saw how the army began to kill people protesting against the government after Friday prayers.

"We used to see the killing in front of us. We saw how they used to shoot randomly on demonstrators after Friday prayers. The army raided houses. If they couldn't steal from the house, they would burn it down or kill its owner," she said.

Desperate undertaking

So Shaker decided she needed to get her four young children out of Homs, moving to another town for several months. But after one of her sons was hit by shrapnel last month, she decided to take the risk of being smuggled into Lebanon.

"The Free Army helped me to flee. We fled through the fields and the Free Army helped to protect the kids," said Shaker.

Shaker said the rebels helped her for free, but others like Abu Skandar pay smugglers what is for them exorbitant sums to move their families across the border. A loose network of activists, rebels and businessmen has been smuggling refugees out of Syria.

"We bribed the officers and I snuck my family through the border. Normally the road from Hama to Tripoli takes two-and-a-half hours, but because of the situation, it took my wife about 12 hours," said Skandar.

Costly smuggling stream

Skandar said he paid about $400 to smuggle his family into Lebanon - the equivalent of nearly two months salary. Now they live in a cramped one-room apartment in a poor section of town.

He said his life before the protests was good, but the Syrian government treated people poorly.

"My financial situation is good, thank God. I have a two-story home, a car, and a shop, and I had a job as a warehouse supervisor, too. But I felt that there was so much injustice from the government, and if you need to do anything you need to have a partner in the government," said Skandar.

As fighting rages in Syria, the United Nations refugee commissioner predicts a "gigantic outflow" of Syrians, which is only likely to increase the smuggling stream.

You May Like

Video Is West Doing Enough to Tackle Islamic State?

There is growing uncertainty over whether West’s response to ISIS is adequate More

China Crackdown on Dual Citizens Causes Concern

New policy encourages reporting people who obtain citizenship in another country, but retain Chinese citizenship; move spurs sharp debate More

Video Coalition to Fight Islamic State Could Reward Assad

Losing ground to Islamic State fighters, Syria's government says it is ready to cooperate with international community More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: oupyxeda from: 1
August 12, 2012 5:06 PM
1


by: Huna Albadawi from: Jordan
August 06, 2012 3:49 PM
hey, Syrians, you seek out smugglers...? move to Gaza...!!!

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Is West Doing Enough to Tackle Islamic State?i
X
Henry Ridgwell
August 29, 2014 12:26 AM
U.S. President Barack Obama has ruled out sending ground troops to Iraq to fight militants of the so-called Islamic State, or ISIS, despite officials in Washington describing the extremist group as the biggest threat the United States has faced in years. Henry Ridgwell reports from London on the growing uncertainty over whether the West’s response to ISIS will be enough to defeat the terrorist threat.
Video

Video Is West Doing Enough to Tackle Islamic State?

U.S. President Barack Obama has ruled out sending ground troops to Iraq to fight militants of the so-called Islamic State, or ISIS, despite officials in Washington describing the extremist group as the biggest threat the United States has faced in years. Henry Ridgwell reports from London on the growing uncertainty over whether the West’s response to ISIS will be enough to defeat the terrorist threat.
Video

Video Pachyderms Play Polo to Raise Money for Elephants

Polo, the ancient team competition typically played on horseback, is known as the “sport of kings.” However, the royal version for one annual event in Thailand swaps the horse for the kingdom’s national symbol - the elephant. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Samut Prakan reports that the King’s Cup Elephant Polo tournament is all for a good cause.
Video

Video Coalition to Fight Islamic State Could Reward Assad

The United States along with European and Mideast allies are considering a broader assault against Islamic State fighters who have spread from Syria into Iraq and risk further destabilizing an already troubled region. But as VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports, confronting those militants could end up helping the embattled Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
Video

Video Made in America Socks Get Toehold in Online Fashion Market

Three young entrepreneurs are hoping to revolutionize the high-end sock industry by introducing all-American creations of their own. And they’re doing most of it the old-fashioned way. VOA’s Julie Taboh recently caught up with them to learn what goes into making their one-of-a-kind socks.
Video

Video Americans, Ex-Pats Send Relief Supplies to West Africa

Health organizations from around the world are sending supplies and specialists to the West African countries that are dealing with the worst Ebola outbreak in history. On a smaller scale, ordinary Americans and African expatriates living in the United States are doing the same. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.
Video

Video America's Most Popular Artworks Displayed in Public Places

Public places in cities across America were turned into open-air art galleries in August. Pictures of the nation’s most popular artworks were displayed on billboards, bus shelters, subway platforms and more. The idea behind “Art Everywhere,” a collaborative campaign by five major museums is to allow more people to enjoy art and learn about the country’s culture and history. Faiza Elmasry has more.
Video

Video Chinese Doctors Use 3-D Spinal Implant

A Chinese boy suffering from a debilitating bone disease has become the first patient with a part of his spine created in a three-dimensional printer. Doctors say he will soon regain normal mobility. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Uneasy Calm Settles Over Israel, Gaza Strip

Israel and the Gaza Strip have been calm since a cease-fire set in Tuesday evening, ending seven weeks of hostilities. Hamas, which controls Gaza, declared victory. Israelis were more wart. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jerusalem.
Video

Video India’s Leprosy Battle Stymied by Continuing Stigma

Medical advancements in the treatment of leprosy have greatly diminished its impact around the world, largely eliminating the disease from most countries. India made great strides in combating leprosy, but still accounts for a majority of the world’s new cases each year, and the number of newly infected Indians is rising - more than 130,000 recorded last year. Doctors there say the problem has more to do with society than science. Shaikh Azizur Rahman reports from Kolkata.
Video

Video Scientists Unlock Mystery of Bird Flocks

How can flocks of birds, schools of fish or herds of antelope suddenly change direction -- all the individuals adjusting their movement in concert, at seemingly the same time? British researchers now have some insights into this behavior, which has puzzled scientists for a long time. VOA's George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid