News / Middle East

Syrian Smugglers' Operations Booming in Jordan

Alex Pena
Northern Jordan - As violence has intensified in Syria, the smuggling business has boomed. A recent trip to northern Jordan near the Syrian border showed how the dangerous practice of dissidents smuggling food and medicine to injured and famished people in Syria is thriving.

Overlooking Syria's southern border from Jordan, Ahmed Al-Masri is making plans to cross it. He leads a group of Syrian smugglers who risk everything on a daily basis to bring supplies into the country. From an undisclosed safe house on the Jordanian side of the border, Ahmed explains why they take the risk.

"Everybody inside Syria needs everything from outside. They need food. They need medication. They need some communication machine like a satellite phone," he said.

Clothing, food, medicine needed

This storage facility is filled with donated clothing. Some will be sent across the border to Deraa, just a few kilometers away.

In another safe house, rooms are full of medical supplies. This doctor, who chose not to show his face, fled from Syria two months ago. Now he works with smugglers to supply doctors inside the country with life-saving tools and medicines.

"So in this, three small packages, we put in one big package, and we smuggle it through the border," he said.

The group supplies three field hospitals inside Deraa and a few others elsewhere in Syria. They send items ranging from gloves and  bandages to tools for surgery.

"Everything for three small surgeries and about 20 patients is found in this package, and it is not heavy, and it's easy to carry," said the doctor.

High stakes, dangerous conditions

In one of the safe houses, Ahmed's boss, who asked to remain anonymous, is arranging to smuggle more supplies north, and people south. If they are caught in Syria, he said, they will be arrested and maybe killed immediately.

In the few kilometers from the Jordanian border, they face snipers and land mines placed by Syrian forces.

"We have so many friends killed in his job, and so many arrested - maybe 35 or 36 now," said Ahmed.

Ahmed was in Deraa when recent uprisings took place. His activism got him arrested, and his family has been threatened, but he continues the work.

"If I were scared, and my friends were scared, nobody would do this thing. We must do it," he said.

You May Like

US Firms Concerned About China's New Cyber Regulations

New rules would require technology companies doing business in financial sector to hand over their source code, adopt Chinese encryption algorithms More

WHO Focus on Ebola Shifts to Ending Outbreak

Focus to be less on building facilities and more on efforts to find infected people, manage their cases, engage with communities and ensure proper burials More

US Scientist Who Conceived of Groundbreaking Laser Technology Dies

Charles Townes, Nobel laureate, laser co-creator paved way for other scientific discoveries: CDs, eye surgery, metal cutters to name a few technologies that rely on lasers More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Greg Lewis from: Kuwait
May 24, 2012 9:49 AM
You all chose an interesting title and picture for the bi-line to this article. I was expecting to read something about the merchants of death bringing weapons in to profit off of the combatants on both sides. Guess that's what you needed to do in order to draw in readers but it's a bit misleading. If I were one of these "smugglers" bringing in much needed medical supplies, I'd be insulted by "The Voice of America" couching me in such terms.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Super Bowl Ads Compete for Eyes on TV, Webi
X
January 29, 2015 9:58 AM
Super Bowl Sunday (Feb. 1) is about more than just the NFL's American football championship and big parties to watch the game. Viewers also tune in for the world famous commercials that send Facebook and Twitter abuzz. Daniela Schrier reports on the social media rewards for America’s priciest advertising.
Video

Video Super Bowl Ads Compete for Eyes on TV, Web

Super Bowl Sunday (Feb. 1) is about more than just the NFL's American football championship and big parties to watch the game. Viewers also tune in for the world famous commercials that send Facebook and Twitter abuzz. Daniela Schrier reports on the social media rewards for America’s priciest advertising.
Video

Video Theologians Cast Doubt on Morality of Drone Strikes

In 2006, stirred by photos of U.S. soldiers mistreating Iraqi prisoners, a group of American faith leaders and academics launched the National Religious Campaign Against Torture. It played an important role in getting Congress to investigate, and the president to ban, torture. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Freedom on Decline Worldwide, Report Says

The state of global freedom declined for the ninth consecutive year in 2014, according to global watchdog Freedom House's annual report released Wednesday. VOA's William Gallo has more.
Video

Video As Ground Shifts, Obama Reviews Middle East Strategy

The death of Saudi Arabia’s king, the collapse of a U.S.-friendly government in Yemen and a problematic relationship with Israel’s leadership are presenting a new set of complications for the Obama administration and its Middle East policy. Not only is the U.S. leader dealing with adversaries in Iran, the Islamic State and al-Qaida, but he is now juggling trouble with traditional allies, as White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video MRI Seems to Help Diagnose Prostate Cancer, Preliminary Study Shows

Just as with mammography used to detect breast cancer, there's a lot of controversy about tests used to diagnose prostate cancer. Fortunately, a new study shows doctors may now have a more reliable way to diagnose prostate cancer for high risk patients. More from VOA's Carol Pearson.
Video

Video Smartphones About to Make Leap, Carry Basic Senses

Long-distance communication contains mostly sounds and pictures - for now. But scientists in Britain say they are close to creating additions for our smartphones that will make it possible to send taste, smell and even a basic touch. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video NASA Monitors Earth’s Vital Signs From Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, is wrapping up its busiest 12-month period in more than a decade, with three missions launched in 2014 and two this month, one in early January and the fifth scheduled for January 29. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, the instruments being lifted into orbit are focused on Earth’s vital life support systems and how they are responding to a warmer planet.
Video

Video Saved By a Mistake - an Auschwitz Survivor's Story

Dagmar Lieblova was 14 when she arrived at Auschwitz in December 1943, along with her entire Czech Jewish family. All of them were to die there, but she was able to leave after several months due to a bureaucratic mix-up which saved her life. Now 85, with three children and six grandchildren, she says she has a feeling of victory. This report by Ahmad Wadiei and Farin Assemi, of RFE/RL's Radio Farda is narrated by RFE’s Raymond Furlong.

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

All About America

AppleAndroid