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.


6 + = 12

The Free Zone | Blog

  • May 26, 2015

    Israel Cries Foul over FIFA Suspension Talk

    FIFA President Sepp Blatter is trying to broker a deal between the Palestinian and Israel football associations ahead of this week's FIFA World Congress at which the Palestinians have called for a vote to suspend Israel. - Blatter met with both associations, as well as Israeli and Palestinian political leaders, during a visit to the region in hopes of finding a way to ease the tension. FIFA is the international soccer... More →
  • May 26, 2015

    After Capturing Haifa, Ben-Gurion Gave Order to Stop Fleeing Arabs from Returning

    David Ben-Gurion, Israel's first prime minister, gave an instruction aimed at preventing Haifa’s Arab residents who have fled the city during the 1948 War of Independence from returning to their homes as long as the fighting continued. This was revealed in a letter bearing Ben-Gurion's signature, which will go on sale next week at the Kedem auction house in Jerusalem. - The letter was sent by Ben-Gurion on June 2,... More →
  • May 26, 2015

    The End of Hasbara? ‘NYT’ Readers Question US Support for Apartheid

    The New York Times published a remarkable discussion yesterday. Alongside an article about Israel canceling a plan to segregate buses going to the West Bank so as to keep Palestinians off settlers’ buses, it published readers’ comments, and in both the editors’ selection and the readers’ selection, the comments were running against Israel. - In fact, the readers’ picks were almost completely one-sided. Here... More →
  • May 26, 2015

    Wrongfully Treating Academic Debate as Anti-Semitism

    According to the State Department definition, a Palestinian student claiming the right to return to her homeland could be considered to be "denying Israel's right to exist," given the demographic implications of the Palestinian right of return for the Jewish state. A professor daring to suggest that Israel should be, like the U.S., the state of all its citizens — liberal, secular and multicultural — rather than... More →
  • May 25, 2015

    Video: Israeli Soldiers Threaten Palestinian Child with False Arrest

    Israeli soldiers in the Palestinian city of Hebron threatened to arrest a 14-year-old Palestinian boy simply for being in the vicinity of people throwing stones last month. - In a video released by Israeli human rights organization B’Tselem in recent days, Israeli soldiers can be seen detaining the child, Maher Abu Haya, near his family home on April 6, 2015. - In the video, the soldiers argue with the child’s... More →
$12,000.00
$10,800.00
$9,600.00
$8,400.00
$7,200.00
$6,000.00
$4,800.00
$3,600.00
$2,400.00
$1,200.00
$0.00
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