Ahmad, Palestinian Refugee from Syria: ‘I Feel We Are Double Refugees’

Aug 31 2013 / 7:49 pm
In 2008, Palestinian refugees fleeing violence in Iraq were denied access to Syria and ended up stuck between the Iraqi and Syrian borders. (Photo: Phil Sands/IRIN/file)
In 2008, Palestinian refugees fleeing violence in Iraq were denied access to Syria and ended up stuck between the Iraqi and Syrian borders. (Photo: Phil Sands/IRIN/file)

By IRIN – Masna’a (Lebanon-Syria Border Crossing)

Palestinian refugees fleeing the violence in Syria have been refused entry into Lebanon for three weeks now.

Since 6 August, according to Human Rights Watch, the Lebanese government has turned back Palestinians who had originally sought refuge in Syria when they were forced from their homes in 1948 and 1967, and are now fleeing once more with their descendants, this time from the conflict in Syria.

A source at the Lebanese General Security confirmed to IRIN the government is no longer letting Palestinians from Syria into Lebanon. Makram Malaeb, programme manager for the Syrian response at the Ministry of Social Affairs, said exceptions would be made for “humanitarian cases”.

According to the UN agency for Palestine refugees, UNRWA, more than 92,000 Palestinians from Syria have already sought refuge in Lebanon, joining the 455,000 Palestinian refugees hosted in Lebanon before the Syrian crisis, largely in overcrowded slums that have often been hotbeds of unrest.

Ahmed, 28, was living in Syria’s Yarmouk camp for Palestinian refugees with his wife and three children when the conflict in Syria broke out. He told IRIN his story.

“I was displaced from my house six months ago after the shelling of Yarmouk. I had to move to several areas due to the fighting. One month ago, I checked on my house, and discovered I had lost my shop and house because of the shelling.

““On 3 August, I decided to send my family [to Lebanon] after my children started to suffer from war trauma. They had nightmares all the time and cried every time they heard an explosion. I sent them to join their cousins in Baalbek camp, while I waited for my travel documents to be renewed.

““I looked for a job, but couldn’t find one. On 13 August, I decided to join my family after I lost everything in Syria. I went to the border.

“The journey between Lebanon and Syria is risky, not because there is shelling but because we have to face the Shabiha [pro-Assad Shia militia] all the time. I was traveling on a minibus with 16 other people. They could have arrested us at any moment if we didn’t bribe them.

“We had to cross several checkpoints, and when we reached Syrian customs, I waited long hours and paid a bribe. Eventually, they allowed me to pass after interrogations on who I know and the purpose of my visit to Lebanon.

“When I crossed over to the Lebanese customs, I was surprised by the lines of Palestinians waiting to cross. We were pushed and beaten by customs officers. We were treated like animals by the General Security.

“The first day of my arrival [at the Lebanese border post], I had to wait in line to take my turn for more than 11 hours, and then I was sent back [to the Syrian border post]. We were told to stay [in no man’s land] until they allowed us in, but nothing happened.

“During my two days at the border, I tried to bribe Lebanese security to enter. They were about to arrest me for offering a bribe, but I did it because I wanted to find a solution for my family, scattered between Lebanon and Syria.

“After waiting for two days, I lost hope of entering Lebanon and decided to return to Syria. I went back to Damascus, where I’m now living in the entrance of a school in a small kiosk at the main gate. I’m waiting for my family to return – to live and die in dignity rather than being humiliated by Lebanese customs. I call them every day asking them to return, but they refuse. If just to enter Lebanon, all this happened to me, how I can live and raise my children in such a country?

“First we were refugees in Syria, and now we are seeking refuge in Lebanon… Like many other Palestinians, I feel we are double refugees.”

(IRIN – www.irinnew.org)

image_pdfimage_print
Posted by on Aug 31 2013 . Filed under Articles, Features . You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 . You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

Leave a Comment

Please insert the correct number.


1 + 7 =

The Free Zone | Blog

  • July 31, 2015

    Hamas: 'Settlers, Soldiers' Legitimate Targets after Infant Killing

    Palestinian political factions strongly condemned an arson attack carried out by settlers which killed a Palestinian infant on Friday, holding the Israeli leadership fully responsible for the brutal attack and calling for revenge. - Hamas said that the killing of 18-month-old Ali Saad Dawabsha in the Nablus village of Duma makes all "Israeli soldiers and settlers legitimate targets for resistance." - A spokesperson for... More →
  • July 31, 2015

    EU Calls on Israel to Halt Settlement Expansion

    In the wake of the Israeli government's announcement that it is going to build more than 800 new housing units in settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories, the EU has called on Israel to halt all such expansion. The Europeans believe that an increase in the size of the illegal settlements, reported Qudsnet, undermines the prospects for an end to the conflict based on a two-state solution. - "The latest... More →
  • July 31, 2015

    Ultra-Orthodox Jew Stabs at Least 6 at Jerusalem Gay Pride Parade

    At least six people were stabbed at an LGBT pride parade in Jerusalem on Thursday, local media reported, citing Israeli police and paramedics. The suspected attacker, an ultra-Orthodox Jew, has been arrested. - Police said that six people have been injured, adding that two of them were in serious condition. - "We were prepared for every scenario, but our perimeter was breached. This is a severe, hard incident, which... More →
  • July 30, 2015

    Israel Moves to Legalize Gitmo-style Force-feeding of Hunger Strikers

    The Israeli parliament has passed a bill that allows the force-feeding of Palestinian prisoners who resort to hunger strikes to protest their administrative detention without charge. The national medical association said the procedure amounts to torture. - The 120-seat Knesset approved the controversial bill, with 46 legislators in favor and 40 against it. Called “Law to prevent harm caused by hunger strikes,” it... More →
  • July 30, 2015

    Hamas Rejects Fatah's Demand to Hand over Rule of Gaza

    Hamas officials on Wednesday rejected demands by Fatah leadership to hand over rule of the Gaza Strip and called for an "uprising" against Palestinian Authority security forces. - Fatah leader Azzam al-Ahmad had said on Sunday that Hamas "foiled" efforts towards a unity government, and that the group must hand over rule of the Gaza Strip as a condition for forming the new government. - Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri... More →
Support Palestine Chronicle
Support Palestine Chronicle
"The Palestine Chronicle is a beacon. History, witness, analysis and ways forward are here, written with authority and humanity. Long may it publish." — John Pilger.
Subscribe to Newsletter
Enter your email address to subscribe to our mailing list.
Email:
separator
Chief Complaint
Return: A Palestinian Memoir
Idea of Israel
Disclaimer RSS Feed Contact us Donation Popup
© Copyright 1999-2015 PalestineChronicle.com. All rights reserved
Powered By MediaSeniors