News / Middle East

Syrian Refugees Seek Out Smugglers

Syrian Refugees Seek Out Smugglersi
X
Margaret Besheer
August 06, 2012 3:11 PM
The United Nations says more than 30,000 Syrians have sought refuge from their country's conflict in neighboring Lebanon. VOA's Margaret Besheer reports from the northern Lebanese city of Tripoli that many of those refugees have sought out smugglers to spirit them to safety.

The United Nations says more than 30,000 Syrians have sought refuge from their country's conflict in neighboring Lebanon

Margaret Besheer
TRIPOLI, Lebanon — The United Nations says more than 30,000 Syrians have sought refuge from their country's conflict in neighboring Lebanon. Many of those refugees have sought out smugglers to spirit them to safety.

Umm Shaker used to work at the Syrian Army base in Baba Amr in Homs. She said she saw how the army began to kill people protesting against the government after Friday prayers.

"We used to see the killing in front of us. We saw how they used to shoot randomly on demonstrators after Friday prayers. The army raided houses. If they couldn't steal from the house, they would burn it down or kill its owner," she said.

Desperate undertaking

So Shaker decided she needed to get her four young children out of Homs, moving to another town for several months. But after one of her sons was hit by shrapnel last month, she decided to take the risk of being smuggled into Lebanon.

"The Free Army helped me to flee. We fled through the fields and the Free Army helped to protect the kids," said Shaker.

Shaker said the rebels helped her for free, but others like Abu Skandar pay smugglers what is for them exorbitant sums to move their families across the border. A loose network of activists, rebels and businessmen has been smuggling refugees out of Syria.

"We bribed the officers and I snuck my family through the border. Normally the road from Hama to Tripoli takes two-and-a-half hours, but because of the situation, it took my wife about 12 hours," said Skandar.

Costly smuggling stream

Skandar said he paid about $400 to smuggle his family into Lebanon - the equivalent of nearly two months salary. Now they live in a cramped one-room apartment in a poor section of town.

He said his life before the protests was good, but the Syrian government treated people poorly.

"My financial situation is good, thank God. I have a two-story home, a car, and a shop, and I had a job as a warehouse supervisor, too. But I felt that there was so much injustice from the government, and if you need to do anything you need to have a partner in the government," said Skandar.

As fighting rages in Syria, the United Nations refugee commissioner predicts a "gigantic outflow" of Syrians, which is only likely to increase the smuggling stream.

You May Like

Karzai's Legacy: Missed Opportunities?

Afghanistan's president leaves behind a much different nation than the one he inherited, yet his legacy from 13 years in power is getting mixed reviews More

US Urges Restraint in Hong Kong Protests

Protesters angered by Beijing's decision to only approve candidates that it sanctions for Hong Kong's leadership elections in 2017 More

Archive of Forgotten UCLA Speeches Offers Snapshot of History

Recordings of prominent voices in social change, politics, science and literature from 1960s, early 1970s now available on YouTube More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: oupyxeda from: 1
August 12, 2012 5:06 PM
1


by: Huna Albadawi from: Jordan
August 06, 2012 3:49 PM
hey, Syrians, you seek out smugglers...? move to Gaza...!!!

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Treasure Hunters Seek 'Hidden Treasure' in Central Kenyai
X
Gabe Joselow
September 29, 2014 6:20 PM
Could a cave in a small village in central Kenya be the site of buried treasure? A rumor of riches, left behind by colonialists, has some residents dreaming of wealth, while others see it as a dangerous hoax. VOA's Gabe Joselow has the story.
Video

Video Treasure Hunters Seek 'Hidden Treasure' in Central Kenya

Could a cave in a small village in central Kenya be the site of buried treasure? A rumor of riches, left behind by colonialists, has some residents dreaming of wealth, while others see it as a dangerous hoax. VOA's Gabe Joselow has the story.
Video

Video Iran's Rouhani Skeptical on Syria Strikes

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani expressed skepticism Friday that U.S.-led airstrikes in Iraq and Syria could crush Islamic State militants. From New York, VOA’s Margaret Besheer reports the president was also hopeful that questions about Iran’s nuclear program could be resolved soon.
Video

Video US House Speaker: Congress Should Debate Authorization Against IS

As wave after wave of U.S. airstrikes target Islamic State militants, the speaker of the Republican-controlled House of Representatives says he would be willing to call Congress back into session to debate a formal, broad authorization for the use of military force. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports from Washington, where legislators left town 10 days ago for a seven-week recess.
Video

Video Ebola Patients Find No Treatment at Sierra Leone Holding Center

At a holding facility in Makeni, central Sierra Leone, dozens of sick people sit on the floor in an empty university building. They wait in filthy conditions. It's a 16-hour drive by ambulance to Kailahun Ebola treatment center. Adam Bailes was there and reports on what he says are some of the worst situations he has seen since the beginning of this Ebola outbreak. And he says it appears case numbers may already be far worse than authorities acknowledge.
Video

Video Identifying Bodies Found in Texas Border Region

Thousands of immigrants have died after crossing the border from Mexico into remote areas of the southwestern United States in recent years. Local officials in south Texas alone have found hundreds of unidentified bodies and buried them in mass graves in local cemeteries. Now an anthropologist and her students at Baylor University have been exhuming bodies and looking for clues to identify them. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from Waco, Texas.
Video

Video Ebola Robs Liberians of Chance to Say Good-Bye to Loved Ones

In Liberia, where Ebola has killed more than 1,500 people, authorities have worked hard to convince people to allow specialized burial teams to take away dead bodies. But these safety measures, while necessary, make it hard for people to say good bye to their loved ones. VOA's Anne Look reports on the tragedy from Liberia.
Video

Video Reconstruction? What Reconstruction? Life After War in Gaza

It’s been a month since Israel and the Palestinians agreed to a ceasefire to end 52 days of an air and tank war that left 60,000 homes in Gaza damaged or destroyed and 110,000 homeless. Sharon Behn reports that lack of reconstruction is leading to despair.
Video

Video US, Saudi Arabia and UAE Hit Islamic State's Oil Revenue

The United States, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates have bombed oil facilities operated by Islamic State militants in Syria. It was a truly collaborative effort, with the two Arab countries dropping the majority of the bombs. The 12 refineries targeted were estimated to generate as much as $2 million per day for the terrorist group. VOA Pentagon correspondent Carla Babb has the story.
Video

Video Russia's Food Sanctions Raise Price Worries, Hopes for Domestic Production

Russia retaliated against Western sanctions imposed for its actions in Ukraine by halting food imports from the West. The temporary import ban on food from Australia, the European Union, Norway and North America has Russian consumers concerned that they could face a sharp increase in food prices. But in an ironic twist, the restrictions aimed at the Kremlin have made Russia's domestic food producers hopeful this can boost their business. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
Video

Video Washington to Pyongyang: 'Shut This Evil System Down'

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry is calling on North Korea to shut down prison camps and other human rights abuses following a United Nations Commission of Inquiry into "widespread and systematic human rights violations." VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports from the United Nations.
Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.

AppleAndroid