Friday, March 30, 2012

On Lebanon's border, silent Syrians are flocking to an unknown future

Our writer visits a village where families flee Assad's wrath

By Robert Fisk

"....A truckload of soldiers (big, burly guys in heavy, black flak jackets, with Kalashnikovs), pulls up and watches silently as flocks of Syrian refugees, fleeing the bloody government crackdown in their nation, plead to enter Lebanon. Lebanese Red Cross ambulances – Syrian wounded lying inside – are waved through. But for the sad, pathetic creatures walking down the road with neither bags nor documents, there is no easy passage.

To enter Lebanon, a Syrian must hold his papers and documents showing his father's name. "I can't get them – they are on the other side of the border, please," says a thin man in a long black coat too big for him, a small boy at his side. "No – back," says the security man. "I told you, back." He pushes the man and the boy, not roughly but with determination, away from the custom house.....

"At night, they all come this way, along the path," she says. "Nobody stops them. They are [Syrian] opposition moving into Lebanon and Syrian refugees. Whoever they are, we don't ask and we just say 'God help them'. Many civilians are Christians running away." Al-Qaa is a Christian village.

The mud-covered path beside the olive grove involves climbs of two feet of rock. Broken shoes and boots with their soles ripped off and filthy, torn socks line the path. These desperate people walk into Lebanon at night and cannot see and must fall on the unseen rocks and slither in the mud. A silent people, armed or not, making their way into an unknown future."

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