Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Trapped – Palestinian refugees from Syria talk to Amnesty International

By Noor Al-Bazzaz, member of Amnesty International’s Syria research team

"It was the shelling that finally drove Abu al-‘Izz to flee his native Syria. In the Bashabsheh transit camp in al-Ramtha he says: “I could not bear the shelling any longer, I had to leave to save my family”. We got the same response from Syrians and Palestinian refugees also fleeing the violence in Syria whom I met in Jordan.

In the past two weeks hundreds of refugees from Syria have reportedly entered Jordan daily, mostly from Dera’a governorate. Almost everyone I spoke to said they were smuggled out of Syria and delivered to Jordan’s unofficial border crossings by the Free Syrian Army.

The journey they say is long and dangerous, often paved with snipers and check points. Mothers spoke of giving their children sleeping medicine so that they do not make a noise during the journey and attract attention from security forces.

A woman tells me: “There were three hundred of us leaving that night, if my baby cried she could have caused three hundred deaths.” Holding her baby up to me, she laughed. ”Can you imagine this little one responsible for three hundred lives?”....

For Palestinian refugees leaving Syria, however, the risk of the journey could well be outweighing the prospect of safety and stability in Jordan, amid reports of restrictions on them at the Jordanian borders and inside the transit camps.

If so, this could be leaving many Palestinians trapped under shelling in Syria with nowhere to go....."

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